Altering Mueller-Lyer illusion magnitude using figural additions at the wing-shaft intersections

Alan Searleman, Clare Kathleen Porac, Colette Dafoe, Brian Hetzel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Mueller-Lyer (ML) illusion has been used to study the way in which perceived length is affected by processes of information extraction when a visual target of interest (the ML shaft) is surrounded by other nontarget figural elements (inwardor outward-turning wings). It is argued that the perception of length is computed in terms of the center of gravity or centroid of figural elements at the wing-shaft intersection. The outward-turning wings shift the computational centroid away from the shaft end, giving rise to an erroneous overestimation of shaft length, while the inward-turning wings have the opposite effect. In three experiments, we observed that figural changes, which theoretically shifted the center of gravity of figural elements at the wing-shaft intersection, also increased or decreased the magnitude of the ML illusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-637
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychology
Volume118
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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