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The Mystery of The Moon IllusionExploring Size Perception$
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Helen Ross and Cornelis Plug

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198508625

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198508625.001.0001

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A question of balance

A question of balance

(p.170) Chapter 12 A question of balance
The Mystery of The Moon Illusion

Helen E. Ross

Cornelis Plug

Oxford University Press

The idea that there might be some sensorimotor interaction in the moon illusion is relatively new, and probably goes back to George Berkeley who argued that both size and distance perception are ultimately based on eye movements and tactile exploration. The sensory aspect of sensorimotor systems is commonly known as proprioception. The proprioceptive mechanisms that contribute to the observer’s knowledge of his own bodily orientation include the vestibular system (the balance organs of the inner ear), the pressure receptors in the skin, and the receptors in the muscles, tendons, and joints. This chapter considers the assumption that proprioceptive information interacts in some way with the visual perception of size and distance, with changes in the observer’s bodily orientation contributing to the moon illusion. The relation between tactile-kinaesthetic space and visual space is controversial, but may not be relevant to the celestial bodies which can only be perceived in visual space.

Keywords:   moon, moon illusion, proprioception, vestibular system, visual perception, applied accelerations, visual space, space travel

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