School of Kinesiology > Research Laboratories and Centers > APAL

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".


APAL grad student conducts research aboard R/V Blue Heron
Thursday, September 11th, 2014:
Justin Munafo, doctoral student in the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL), conducted research on posture and vision aboard the R/V Blue Heron, on Lake Superior, August 12-14. The vessel, which houses extensive sub-bottom characterization and lake floor mapping equipment,  is operated by the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Large Lake Observatory. [Read Full Story]

Stoffregen, colleagues accepted for publication in pre-eminent basic experimental psychology journal
Thursday, August 28th, 2014:
“Just the sight of you: Postural effects of interpersonal visual contact at sea,” by Manuel Varlet, Thomas Stoffregen (director of the  Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory) , Fu-Chen Chen, Cristina Alcantara, Ludovic Marin, and Benoit G. Bardy, has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance. Chen received his Ph.D. in kinesiology from […] [Read Full Story]

Stoffregen suggests tips to deal with car sickness
Thursday, August 14th, 2014:
Professor of kinesiology and director of the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL), Dr. Thomas A. Stoffregen was interviewed on regarding car sickness. His expert opinion was published in the form of ten recommendations to combat car sickness: 1. Sit in the front seat 2. Close your eyes and sleep 3. Look into the distance 4. Don’t read anything 5. Use your […] [Read Full Story]

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]

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Last modified on 1/24/2014