Memory-related perceptual illusions directly affect physical activity in humans.

08:00 EDT 16th May 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Memory-related perceptual illusions directly affect physical activity in humans."

Perceptual illusions help us understand deficits in human perception, but they also have the potential to serve as treatment methods; e.g., to alleviate phantom limb pain. Treatment effects are usually the direct result of a mismatch between false visual feedback and somatosensory/proprioceptive feedback. We aimed to influence physical activity (walking distance) using a memory-related perceptual illusion that relies on a mismatch between a spatially manipulated virtual reality environment and a weakness of memory for a similar, previously experienced environment. Participants' main task was to reproduce a baseline distance three times, by walking on a treadmill while moving through a virtual reality environment. Depending on condition, the environment was either stretched or compressed relative to the previous session, but participants were not informed about these manipulations. Because false, suggestive information can lead to alterations in memory, especially when conveyed through 'rich' forms of media such as virtual reality, we expected each manipulation to alter memory for the previous environment(s) and we hypothesized that this would influence walking distance. The results for the first time showed that memory-related perceptual illusions can directly affect physical activity in humans. The effects we found are substantial; stretching previously experienced virtual environments led participants to almost double their initial walking distance, whereas compressing the environments resulted in about half of the initial distance. Possible clinical applications arising from these findings are discussed.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: PloS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
Pages: e0216988


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A perceptual phenomenon used by Gestalt psychologists to demonstrate that events in one part of the perceptual field may affect perception in another part.

The interference of one perceptual stimulus with another causing a decrease or lessening in perceptual effectiveness.

A neuropsychological test designed to assess different memory functions. It may incorporate an optional cognitive exam (Brief Cognitive Status Exam) that helps to assess memory related cognitive function.

Memory related to spatial information.

Loss of the ability to form new memories beyond a certain point in time. This condition may be organic or psychogenic in origin. Organically induced anterograde amnesia may follow CRANIOCEREBRAL TRAUMA; SEIZURES; ANOXIA; and other conditions which adversely affect neural structures associated with memory formation (e.g., the HIPPOCAMPUS; FORNIX (BRAIN); MAMMILLARY BODIES; and ANTERIOR THALAMIC NUCLEI). (From Memory 1997 Jan-Mar;5(1-2):49-71)

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