Perception informs people about the opportunities for action and their associated costs. To this end, explicit awareness of spatial layout varies not only with relevant optical and ocular-motor variables, but also as a function of the costs associated with performing intended actions. Although explicit awareness is mutable in this respect, visually guided actions directed at the immediate environment are not. When the metabolic costs associated with walking an extent increase—perhaps because one is wearing a heavy backpack—hills appear steeper and distances to targets appear greater. When one is standing on a high balcony, the apparent distance to the ground is correlated with one’s fear of falling. Perceiving spatial layout combines the geometry of the world with behavioral goals and the costs associated with achieving these goals.
Proffitt, D. R. (2006). Embodied perception and the economy of action. Perspectives on psychological science, 1(2), 110-122.