[visionlist] immunity from illusions

Marco Bertamini marco.bertamini at gmail.com
Fri Feb 17 14:52:51 -05 2017

To summarise various contributions, here is a list of factors modulating
responses to visual illusions and thus contributing to individual

Age. Simon Rushton has already mentioned Piaget (Piaget et al., 1942).
There is also more recent work (Doherty et al., 2010)

Anatomy. Size illusions correlate to size of V1 (Schwarzkopf et al., 2011).
I imagine the individual differences reviewed by David Peterzell (2016) may
also relate to different sensitivity to visual illusions.

Autism spectrum. Many studies on this (best known study by Happé, 1996;
recent review in Gori et al., 2016)

Culture. The Himba in Namibia have weaker illusions, may focus more on
local info (de Fockert et al., 2007). Also Asians differ from Westerners,
showing greater sensitivity to context in size illusions (Doherty et al.,

Developmental dyslexia. Slaghuis et al. (1996) using Ternus stimulus, found
a reduction of group motion.

Schiophrenia (review in Notredame et al., 2014, see also link in Chris Sims
post to an article by Laura Sanders).

Schizotypy. Not sure whether this should be listed separately from
schizophrenia (Partos et al., 2016).

Sex. In relation to males having a stronger lateralisation (Rasmjou et al.,

It has also already been mentioned that recent work found weak correlations
between visual illusions in a sample of over 100 people (Grzeczkowski et
al., 2016) thus suggesting that maybe some variability is idiosyncratic.

Are there more factors to add to the list?

Cheers,  Marco

de Fockert, J., Davidoff, J., Fagot, J., Parron, C., & Goldstein, J.
(2007). More accurate size contrast judgments in the Ebbinghaus Illusion by
a remote culture. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and
Performance, 33, 738-742.

Doherty, M. J., Campbell, N. M., Tsuji, H., & Phillips, W. A. (2010). The
Ebbinghaus illusion deceives adults but not young children. Developmental
science, 13(5), 714-721.

Doherty, M., Tsuji, H. & Phillips W.A. (2008). The context sensitivity of
visual size perception varies across cultures. Perception, 37, 1426-1433

Gori, S., Molteni, M., & Facoetti, A. (2016). Visual Illusions: An
Interesting Tool to Investigate Developmental Dyslexia and Autism Spectrum
Disorder. *Frontiers in human neuroscience, 10*.

Grzeczkowski, L., Clarke, A.M., Francis, G., Mast, F.W., & Herzog, M.H.
(2017). About individual differences in vision. *Vision Research.*

Happé, F. G. (1996). Studying weak central coherence at low levels:
children with autism do not succumb to visual illusions. A research note.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 37(7), 873-877.

Notredame, C. E., Pins, D., Deneve, S., and Jardri, R. (2014). What visual
illusions teach us about schizophrenia. Frontiers Integr. Neurosci. 12:63.

Partos, T.R., Cropper, S.J., & Rawlings, D. (2016). You Don’t See What I
See: Individual Differences in the Perception of Meaning from Visual
Stimuli. PloS one, 11(3), e0150615.

Peterzell, D. H., & Kennedy, J. F. (2016). Discovering sensory processes
using individual differences: A review and factor analytic manifesto.
Electronic Imaging, 2016(16), 1-11.

Piaget, J., Lambercier, M., Boesch, E., & von Albertini, B. (1942).
Introduction a l'etude des perceptions chez l'enfant et analyse d'une
illusion relative a la perception visuelle de cercles concentriques
(Delboeuf). *Archives de Psychologie, 29*, 1-107.

Rasmjou, S., Hausmann, M., & Güntürkün, O. (1999). Hemispheric dominance
and gender in the perception of an illusion. *Neuropsychologia, 37(9)*,

Schwarzkopf, D.S., Song, C., & Rees, G. (2011). The surface area of human
V1 predicts the subjective experience of object size. *Nature Neuroscience,
14(1)*, 28-30.

Slaghuis, W.L., Twell, A.J., and Kingston, K.R. (1996). Visual and language
processing disorders are concurrent in dyslexia and continue into
adulthood. *Cortex 32*, 413-438.
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