The addition of stripes (a version of the 'horizontal-vertical illusion') increases foot clearance when crossing low-height obstacles

Foster, RJ, Buckley, JG, Whitaker, D and Elliott, DB, 2016. The addition of stripes (a version of the 'horizontal-vertical illusion') increases foot clearance when crossing low-height obstacles. Ergonomics, 59 (7), pp. 884-889. ISSN 0014-0139

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Trips over obstacles are one of the main causes of falling in older adults, with vision playing an important role in successful obstacle negotiation. We determined whether a horizontal-vertical illusion, superimposed onto low-height obstacles to create a perceived increase in obstacle height, increased foot clearances during obstacle negotiation thus reducing the likelihood of tripping. Eleven adults (mean±1SD: age 27.3±5.1 years) negotiated obstacles of varying heights (3, 5, 7 cm) with four different appearance conditions; two were obstacles with a horizontal-vertical illusion (vertical stripes of different thickness) superimposed on the front, one was a plain obstacle and the fourth a plain obstacle with a horizontal black line painted on the top-edge. Foot clearance parameters were compared across conditions. Both illusions led to a significant increase in foot clearance when crossing the obstacle, compared to the plain condition, irrespective of obstacle height. Superimposing a horizontal-vertical illusion onto low-height obstacles can increase foot clearance and its use on the floor-section of a double-glazing door frame for example, may reduce the incidence of tripping in the home.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Ergonomics
Creators: Foster, R.J., Buckley, J.G., Whitaker, D. and Elliott, D.B.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Date: 2016
Volume: 59
Number: 7
ISSN: 0014-0139
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Depositing User: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 12 Nov 2015 17:05
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2017 10:43

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