Does Friendship Influence Space Perception? With Particular Reference to the Curse of the Suspicious Participants

Abstract

In this study, we tested the hypothesis that social relationships affect the perception of distance. When participants imagined passing through a wall and a disliked-person, they perceived shorter aperture widths than when they intended to pass between a wall and a liked-person. This result was observed only for passable apertures suggesting that social constraints may influence visual perception only when people can actually perform this action. We discuss the results according to an embodied approach to visual perception but also with an alternative explanation in terms of possible demand characteristics. We also discuss some methodological points supposed to improve the validity of such experiments.


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