The Human Ability To Determine The Location And Size Of Things Varies From Person To Person

The ability to pinpoint the exact location and size of an object varies from person to person, sciencedaily (Nov. 2, 2010) -reported. The article is excerpted as follows:

We humans may not always see eye to eye on politics, religion, sports and other issues. But at least we can agree on the location and size of objects in the physical environment. But can we really?

A new study from the University of California, Berkeley, published recently in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, shows that our ability to pinpoint the exact location and size of things varies from person to person, even within our personal field of vision.
Lead author Wang Zixuan, a doctoral student in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, said: “We have always thought that our intuition is a perfect reflection of the physical world around us, but this study shows that each of us has a unique visual imprint.”


The findings by Wang And other researchers at the Whitney Perception and Behavior Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, have important implications for the practice of precise visual positioning in areas critical to medicine, technology, driving and sports.

For example, even a small miscalculation by a driver about the location of a pedestrian crossing the road could lead to disaster. At the same time, in sports, errors in visual judgment can lead to controversy and may even affect the winner.

Take the quarterfinal of the 2004 US Open, where tennis icon Serena Williams lost to Jennifer Capriati after a series of questionable decisions by a referee about whether the ball landed on the court. An umpire mistakenly overruled a linesman who ruled Williams’ backhand had landed inside the line, eventually leading to an apology from the UTA.

Wang Zixuan, a tennis fan, said: “The linesman needs to decide whether the ball is in or out. Errors as small as 0.5 degrees of vision — the equivalent of a submillimeter shift in the referee’s retina — can affect the outcome of a match.”