Publication Details

Tsuruhara, A., Nakato, E., Otsuka, Y., Kanazawa, S., Yamaguchi, M. K. & Hill, H. (2011). The hollow-face illusion in infancy: do infants see a screen based rotating hollow mask as hollow?. i-Perception, 2 (5), 418-427.


We investigated whether infants experience the hollow-face illusion using a screen-based presentation of a rotating hollow mask. In experiment 1 we examined preferential looking between rotating convex and concave faces. Adults looked more at the concave—illusory convex—face which appears to counter rotate. Infants of 7- to 8-month-old infants preferred the convex face, and 5- to 6-month-olds showed no preference. While older infants discriminate, their preference differed from that of adults possibly because they don’t experience the illusion or counter rotation. In experiment 2 we tested preference in 7- to 8-month-olds for angled convex and concave static faces both before and after habituation to the stimuli shown in experiment 1. The infants showed a novelty preference for the static shape opposite to the habituation stimulus, together with a general preference for the static convex face. This shows that they discriminate between convex and concave faces and that habituation to either transfers across a change in view. Seven- to eight-month-olds have been shown to discriminate direction of rigid rotation on the basis of perspective changes. Our results suggest that this, perhaps together with a weaker bias to perceive faces as convex, allows these infants to see the screen-based hollow face as hollow even though adults perceive it as convex.



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