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Journal Of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception And Performance


People verbally overestimate hill slant by approximately 15 degrees to 25 degrees, whereas manual estimates (e. g., palm board measures) are thought to be more accurate. The relative accuracy of palm boards has contributed to the widely cited theoretical claim that they tap into an accurate, but unconscious, motor representation of locomotor space. In the current work, 4 replications (total N = 204) carried out by 2 different laboratories tested an alternative anchoring hypothesis that manual action measures give low estimates because they are always initiated from horizontal. The results of all 4 replications indicate that the bias from response anchoring can entirely account for the difference between manual and verbal estimates. Moreover, consistent correlations between manual and verbal estimates given by the same observers support the conclusion that both measures are based on the same visual representation. Concepts from the study of judgment under uncertainty apply even to action measures in information rich environments.


This work is a preprint.

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