Publication Details

Koessler, T. & Hill, H. (2015). Pinhole viewing strengthens the hollow-face illusion. i-Perception, 6 (4), 1-9.


A hollow (concave) mask appears convex when viewed from beyond a certain distance even when viewed stereoscopically-this is the hollow-face illusion. At close viewing distances, the same mask is seen as hollow even when disparity information is eliminated by monocular viewing. A potential source of nonpictorial, monocular information that favors a veridical percept at close distances is accommodation in conjunction with focus blur. In this article, we used pinhole viewing to minimize this potential source of information and test whether it affects whether a hollow mask is seen as veridical (concave) or illusory (convex). Since monocular viewing also facilitates the illusory (convex) percept, it was included in the design both as a comparison and to test whether any effect of accommodation depends on vergence. Pinhole viewing was found favor the illusory percept, and its effect was at least as large as, and added to, that of monocular viewing. A control experiment using tinted glasses that attenuate illumination at least as much as the pinholes did not strengthen the illusion ruling out explanations in terms of reduced luminance. For pinhole viewing, there was no difference between monocular and binocular conditions. The results are interpreted as evidence that focus driven depth information affects perceived three-dimensional shape at close distances even when other sources of depth information are available. The lack of a difference between monocular and binocular pinhole viewing suggests that, by disrupting accommodation, pinholes may also interfere with linked vergence cues to depth.



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