For Science: Researchers investigate why some players invert their directional controls


When you have an analog stick to control the camera, does pushing the stick forward tilt the camera up or down? The Guardian published a whole piece about inverting the Y-axis on controls, and the discussion around it prompted researchers to sit up and say “hey, this is actually a field worth studying.” So now that study is happening under the watchful eye of Drs. Jennifer Corbett and Jaap Munneke at Brunel University London.

As Corbett explained, the nature of the global pandemic has meant that many usual avenues of research have not been available for experimentation. It’s also an area with clear and passionate participants on both sides of the debate, but it’s a largely unexplored field that could produce some interesting data regarding how participants manipulate three-dimensional objects.

The study will be “measuring how fast and accurately people are able to mentally rotate shapes and the extent to which they rely on different body and contextual cues when making spatial judgments,” Corbett says. “There are no right or wrong answers in these tasks – we’re interested in how people might perform differently.” Ideally, the experiments will reveal insight into human perception (and not just whether you in fact suck at flight sims). It could even help real pilots and UI designers.

“Most research focuses on how people pay attention to individual objects, but humans can’t really process more than a few details at once. There’s a gaping hole in our knowledge regarding how our visual perception is heavily dependent on the rest of this vast majority of sensory information. Being able to predict how a person will interact within a given environment or context can bring about monumental advancements in technology.”

So if you’ve never understood why people would invert the Y-axis on controls – or why people wouldn’t do that – the good news is that scientific progress will soon be made.

Source: The Guardian
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