Developmental trends in susceptibility to perceptual illusions: Not all illusions are created equal

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Abstract

This study examined the development of the utilization of contextual information in visuospatial integration during childhood. We examined four contextual size illusions in children and adults asking whether young children’s sensitivity to context is reduced or varies with the perceptual mechanisms or the levels of integration involved. We tested susceptibility to contextual illusions in four-year-olds, seven-year-olds, and adults, employing two psychophysical paradigms, perceptual estimation and a 2AFC discrimination task. We tested susceptibility to Ebbinghaus and Ponzo illusions to estimate the effect of the interaction of object size with its contextual background on the rescaling of its perceived size; we also tested susceptibility to the rectangle and 3D-cube illusions to estimate the effect of the interaction of two dimensions of the target object on the rescaling of its perceived size. While four-year-olds were affected by the Ebbinghaus and Ponzo illusions, they showed no susceptibility to the rectangle or 3D-cube illusion. The results show that, overall, sensitivity to context is not reduced in early childhood; rather, it varies with the perceptual mechanisms or the levels of integration involved. In particular, development is protracted for size illusions in which contextual effects entail the extraction of the relations of dimensions within an object.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1619-1628
Number of pages10
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Volume80
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Psychonomic Society, Inc.

Keywords

  • 3D-cube illusion
  • Context
  • Ebbinghaus illusion
  • Integral-separable dimensions
  • Ponzo illusion
  • Visual illusions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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