Gauging Possibilities for Action Based on Friction Underfoot

Amy S. Joh, Karen E. Adolph, Priya J. Narayanan, Victoria A. Dietz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Standing and walking generate information about friction underfoot. Five experiments examined whether walkers use such perceptual information for prospective control of locomotion. In particular, do walkers integrate information about friction underfoot with visual cues for sloping ground ahead to make adaptive locomotor decisions? Participants stood on low-, medium-, and high-friction surfaces on a flat platform and made perceptual judgments for possibilities for locomotion over upcoming slopes. Perceptual judgments did not match locomotor abilities: Participants tended to overestimate their abilities on low-friction slopes and underestimate on high-friction slopes (Experiments 1-4). Accuracy improved only for judgments made while participants were in direct contact with the slope (Experiment 5), highlighting the difficulty of incorporating information about friction underfoot into a plan for future actions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1145-1157
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007



  • friction
  • locomotion
  • perception-action
  • prospective control
  • slopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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