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Athletes often give more accurate estimates of egocentric distance along the ground than do non-athletes. To explore whether cognitive calibration was accompanied by perceptual change, athletes and non-athletes made verbal height and distance estimates and also did a perceptual matching task between perceived egocentric distances and frontal vertical extents. Both groups were well calibrated for height estimation for poles viewed frontally, but athletes were much better calibrated at estimating longer egocentric distances (which are systematically underestimated by non-athletes). Athletes were more likely to have learned specific units of ground distance from relevant sports contexts. Both groups reported using human height as a metric for vertical extent. For non-athletes, verbal underestimation of ground distance corresponded to predictions based on perceptual matches between egocentric distances and vertical extents in conjunction with human-height-based verbal estimates of vertical extents. For athletes, the verbal scaling of egocentric distances of 10 m or more was more accurate and was not predicted by their egocentric distance matches to vertical extents.


This work is freely available courtesy of Pion: i-Perception.

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