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The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions$
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Arthur G. Shapiro and Dejan Todorovic

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199794607

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.001.0001

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Size Contrast and Assimilation in the Delboeuf and Ebbinghaus Illusions

Size Contrast and Assimilation in the Delboeuf and Ebbinghaus Illusions

Chapter:
(p.262) Chapter 28 Size Contrast and Assimilation in the Delboeuf and Ebbinghaus Illusions
Source:
The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions
Author(s):

Ryan E. B. Mruczek

Christopher D. Blair

Lars Strother

Gideon P. Caplovitz

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.003.0028

The Ebbinghaus and Delboeuf illusions are two well-established size illusions, both of which demonstrate that the perceived size of an object depends on the physical size of the object relative to surrounding objects. This chapter reviews some of the primary observations and interpretations of these two classic illusions and some of the current theories regarding size contrast (objects appearing more different than they really are) and size assimilation (objects appearing more similar than they really are). Despite over a century of progress in visual psychology and neuroscience, many of the challenges in explaining assimilation and contrast effects on size perception remain highly relevant. Although unlikely to be due to the muscular effort of the eyes as posited by Delboeuf almost 150 years ago, the precise mechanisms that underlie size contrast and size assimilation remain unknown to this day. New discoveries about these and related effects are still being uncovered.

Keywords:   size perception, Delboeuf illusion, Ebbinghaus illusion, size illusion, perceived size

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