Judging the ‘passability’ of dynamic gaps in a virtual rugby environment

Gareth Watson, Sebastien Brault, Richard Kulpa, Benoit Bideau, Jo Butterfield, Cathy Craig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Affordances have recently been proposed as a guiding principle in perception–action research in sport (Fajen, Riley, & Turvey, 2009). In the present study, perception of the ’passability’ affordance of a gap between two approaching defenders in rugby is explored. A simplified rugby gap closure scenario was created using immersive, interactive virtual reality technology where 14 novice participants (attacker) judged the passability of the gap between two virtual defenders via a perceptual judgment (button press) task. The scenario was modeled according to tau theory (Lee, 1976) and a psychophysical function was fitted to the response data. Results revealed that a tau-based informational quantity could account for 82% of the variance in the data. Findings suggest that the passability affordance in this case, is defined by this variable and participants were able to use it in order to inform prospective judgments as to passability. These findings contribute to our understanding of affordances and how they may be defined in this particular sporting scenario; however, some limitations regarding methodology, such as decoupling perception and action are also acknowledged.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)942-956
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Movement Science
Issue number5
Early online date16 Oct 2010
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Oct 2011


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