Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Life's not a squeeze for pregnant women

Date:
December 16, 2013
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
Despite their changed body size, pregnant women are just as good as other people at judging whether they are able to fit through openings, such as doorways, or not. This is thanks to a process called perceptual-motor recalibration that helps people to adjust their spatial awareness of their environment based on changes in their body's size and abilities. This research is the first to report such perceptual recalibration in response to actual growth rather than on the experimentally induced manipulation of body size.

Despite their changed body size, pregnant women are just as good as other people at judging whether they are able to fit through openings, such as doorways, or not. This is thanks to a process called perceptual-motor recalibration that helps people to adjust their spatial awareness of their environment based on changes in their body's size and abilities, says John Franchak and Karen Adolph of New York University in the US. Their study, published in Springer's journal Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, is the first to report such perceptual recalibration in response to actual growth rather than on the experimentally induced manipulation of body size.

The possibilities to perform certain actions reflect the fit between body and environment, which is generally termed as "affordances." When a body changes relative to the environment, affordances also change. It happens constantly across a person's lifespan as motor abilities, body size and morphology change. Pregnancy or illness, for instance, can cause fluctuations in the size and shape of the body that have consequences for action, but over a shorter period.

The researchers tested the expectation that affordance perception may be hindered during pregnancy. They wondered if pregnant women's judgments are based on their original, pre-pregnancy body dimensions, or if their perception actually lags behind their growing bodies.

From the first experiment, in which 11 women participated during the course of their pregnancies, the researchers learnt that pregnant women were able to fully adapt to changes in their abilities to squeeze through doorways. They made errors comparable to non-pregnant adults. As their bellies increased in size, so did their judgments of what doorways were possible to squeeze through in a sideways position.

Because pregnant women grow gradually and have the benefit of everyday experience to learn about their changing bodies, another experiment was designed in which participants wore a pregnancy pack simulating a pregnancy around nine months. The participants initially grossly misjudged affordance when wearing the pregnancy pack, and overcompensated for the added girth of the prosthesis. However, when they were first allowed to practice and move, they were able to make the necessary changes and adapt. Movement made a more accurate perceptual motor recalibration possible.

"Pregnant women accurately perceived the space needed to accommodate their growing bodies," writes Franchak, who stresses that changes to the body must be considered with respect to a task and an environment, and what is possible to perform or not.

"The experience of weight gain or weight loss likely operates similarly to pregnancy -- experience might be necessary to facilitate recalibration to changes in body size and compression, in other words, how much the body can be 'squeezed' to fit through a specific opening," adds Adolph.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. John M. Franchak, Karen E. Adolph. Gut estimates: Pregnant women adapt to changing possibilities for squeezing through doorways. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 2013; DOI: 10.3758/s13414-013-0578-y

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Life's not a squeeze for pregnant women." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131216095340.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2013, December 16). Life's not a squeeze for pregnant women. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131216095340.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Life's not a squeeze for pregnant women." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131216095340.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins