Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL)
The Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory at the University of Minnesota is part of the School of Kinesiology, in the College of Education and Human Development. The APAL is the successor to the Human Factors Research Laboratory.
The perceptual guidance of action, and the use of motor activity to obtain perceptual information are two of the central aspects of animate behavior. Even one-celled organisms perceive to move, and move to perceive. Research on relations between perception and action is relatively recent in the behavioral sciences, and APAL is a leader in quantitative research in this area. Our focus is on the integration of perception and action in the context of meaningful behaviors. Relations between properties of the environment and properties of the organism have consequences for behavior. These relations, known as affordances, are directly relevant to the success of our interactions with the environment and, accordingly, perception and action should be concentrated on learning about affordances and on the use of affordances to achieve behavioral goals. Our focus on affordance perception-action is inspired by the Ecological Approach to Perception and Action.
In the APAL, our study of relations between affordances and perception-action straddles the boundary between basic and applied science. That is, our research on “basic” issues commonly has implications for the design and use of human-machine systems, and our research on “applied” issues commonly has implications for general theories of affordance perception-action. Our applied work relates primarily to the Human Factors of perception and action in virtual environments, and is inspired by the Ecological Approach to Human-Machine Systems.
APAL's research on motion sickness was featured recently on the University of Minnesota's eNews and on WCCO-TV. It was also featured in the News Scan section of the April 2009 issue of Scientific American.
APAL's research on ships at sea was featured in a recent podcast as a "University of Minnesota Moment".
Stoffregen comments on Yahoo health article
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014: Professor of kinesiology and director of the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL) Thomas A. Stoffregen, Ph.D., commented on a Yahoo health article discussing motion sickness. The article explores the fact that with modern technology, a person does not necessarily have to be moving to experience motion sickness. According to Stoffregen, “motion sickness is a slippery eel because it’s so profoundly subjective.” […] [Read Full Story]
Stoffregen’s research mentioned in the New York Times
Tuesday, July 15th, 2014: The research of Thomas Stoffregen, Ph.D., director of the APAL, and professor of kinesiology, was featured in the July 14, 2014 issue of the New York Times. The article discusses widespread concerns that current and future virtual reality technologies, such as head mounted displays, may give rise to motion sickness in a large percentage of users. The technology, often […] [Read Full Story]
APAL members attend annual NASPSPA meeting in Minneapolis
Thursday, June 19th, 2014: The Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL) was well represented by faculty, alumnus, and students at the annual North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity meeting (NASPSPA), June 12-14. Professor Michael Wade, Ph.D., chaired a seminar titled, “Atypical motor development: Issues in children with developmental coordination disorder,” and Tom Stoffregen, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology and director of the […] [Read Full Story]
APAL presenting at ISEP North American Meeting
Friday, June 6th, 2014: The Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL) gave several presentations at the North American Meeting of the International Society for Ecological Psychology, June 5-8, Miami University, Oxford OH. The following presentations were given by APAL: “Exploring Len Mark’s Affordances”, by Thomas A. Stoffregen, an invited talk in a special symposium given to honor Professor Leonard Mark at […] [Read Full Story]
Stoffregen featured on “Science in the Wild” Podcast
Thursday, April 17th, 2014: Professor of kinesiology and director of the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL) Dr. Thomas A. Stoffregen recently was the sole guest on two episodes of the podcast, Science in the Wild. In one episode, Stoffregen discussed wearable technology and the scientific implications for the Facebook-Oculus partnership, while in the second podcast, he discussed careers prospects in research laboratories. [Read Full Story]
Motion sickness expert comments on Facebook acquisiton of Oculus
Thursday, March 27th, 2014: Professor of kinesiology and director of the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL) Dr. Thomas A. Stoffregen was a guest on NPR’s Marketplace this week, commenting on Facebook’s purchase of virtual reality company, Oculus, for $2 billion. Stoffregen’s expertise on motion sickness was highlighted as virtual environments have been known to cause dizziness, nausea, vertigo, and disorientation. [Read Full Story]
WTIP interviews Stoffregen on motion sickness
Thursday, March 6th, 2014: Professor of kinesiology and director of the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL) Dr. Thomas A. Stoffregen recently participated in a interview on radio station WTIP, a North Shore Community Radio Station in Cook County, Minnesota. The interview focused on motion sickness in a variety of situations: cars, ships, video games, and tablet computers. Stoffregen, along with graduate students Yi-Chou […] [Read Full Story]
New research links iPads to motion sickness
Monday, February 10th, 2014: Have you ever felt sick or queasy after using a mobile device for an extended period of time? New research from the University of Minnesota, published in the journal Experimental Brain Research, helps explain why that might be. In the study, participants played video games on iPads—under controlled, experimental conditions— and experienced motion sickness almost […] [Read Full Story]
APAL research links mobile devices to motion sickness
Thursday, January 30th, 2014: “Motion control, motion sickness, and the postural dynamics of mobile devices” by Professor Thomas A. Stoffregen, director of the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL), Yi-Chou Chen, and Frank Koslucher, was accepted for publication in Experimental Brain Research. Chen and Koslucher are both graduate students in the School of Kinesiology and work in APAL under Dr. Stoffregen’s […] [Read Full Story]