Perception relates not only to the optical information from the environment but also to the perceiver’s performance on a given task. We present evidence that the perceived height and width of an American-football field goal post relates to the perceiver’s kicking performance. Participants who made more successful kicks perceived the field goal posts to be farther apart and perceived the crossbar to be closer to the ground compared with participants who made fewer kicks. Interestingly, the current results show perceptual effects related to performance only after kicking the football but not before kicking. We also found that the types of performance errors influenced specific aspects of perception. The more kicks that were missed left or right of the target, the narrower the field goal posts looked. The more kicks that were missed short of the target, the taller the field goal crossbar looked. These results demonstrate that performance is a factor in size perception.


Weiner (2009). The definitive, peer-reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Perception, 38, 9, 1328-1340, 2009, 10.1068/p6325.

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