Context effects in visual length perception: Role of ocular, retinal, and spatial location

Yoav Arieh, Lawrence E. Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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In three experiments, we examined the transfer of orientation-contingent context effects between the eyes and across portions of the retina with or without variation in external spatial location. Previous research had shown that vertical lines are judged long, relative to horizontal lines, when the stimulus set comprises relatively long horizontals and short verticals (Contextual Condition B), as compared with the reverse when the stimulus set comprises relatively short horizontals and long verticals (Contextual Condition A). Consequently, the contextual set of stimuli influences the magnitude of the horizontal-vertical illusion (HVI), decreasing its size under Contextual Condition A and increasing its size under Contextual Condition B. Experiment 1 showed that exposing one eye to different stimulus contexts modulated the size of the HVI at the exposed eye but had little or no effect at the other eye. Experiments 2 and 3 showed that the effect of the contextual sets generalized poorly across adjacent portions of the retina but transferred almost perfectly across different locations in external space when retinal location was constant. Thus, orientation-contingent context effects in visual length perception appear to be specific to the eye and to the region of the retina stimulated, suggesting that these effects reflect relatively early and local changes in sensitivity, rather than relatively late and general shifts in response criteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-492
Number of pages15
JournalPerception and Psychophysics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


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