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Binocular disparity magnitude affects perceived depth magnitude despite inversion of depth order.

Authors
  • Matthews, Harold1
  • Hill, Harold
  • Palmisano, Stephen
  • 1 School of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia. [email protected] , (Australia)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Perception
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2011
Volume
40
Issue
8
Pages
975–988
Identifiers
PMID: 22132512
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The hollow-face illusion involves a misperception of depth order: our perception follows our top-down knowledge that faces are convex, even though bottom-up depth information reflects the actual concave surface structure. While pictorial cues can be ambiguous, stereopsis should unambiguously indicate the actual depth order. We used computer-generated stereo images to investigate how, if at all, the sign and magnitude of binocular disparities affect the perceived depth of the illusory convex face. In experiment 1 participants adjusted the disparity of a convex comparison face until it matched a reference face. The reference face was either convex or hollow and had binocular disparities consistent with an average face or had disparities exaggerated, consistent with a face stretched in depth. We observed that apparent depth increased with disparity magnitude, even when the hollow faces were seen as convex (ie when perceived depth order was inconsistent with disparity sign). As expected, concave faces appeared flatter than convex faces, suggesting that disparity sign also affects perceived depth. In experiment 2, participants were presented with pairs of real and illusory convex faces. In each case, their task was to judge which of the two stimuli appeared to have the greater depth. Hollow faces with exaggerated disparities were again perceived as deeper.

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