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Elyssa Twedt, L. Elizabeth Crawford, Dennis Proffitt; Memory for others' height is scaled to eye height. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):79. doi: 10.1167/10.7.79.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Sedgwick (1973) noted that the perceived size of objects can be scaled relative to an observer's own eye height (EH). EH scaling has been shown to affect judgments of relative size, such that accuracy is best for objects at eye height (Bertamini, Yang, & Proffitt, 1998). The present study extended these findings to determine whether EH scaling is preserved in memory. In three experiments, we assessed how an observer's own height influences memories of others' heights. If EH scaling is preserved in memory, then judgments should be most accurate for targets that match the observer's height and should decline with deviation from that height. In Experiments 1 and 2, participants viewed target faces on sticks of varying heights. After each, they turned to face a comparison face and judged whether the comparison was taller or shorter than the target. Target and comparison heights were adjusted so that each participant viewed targets that were shorter, taller, and the same as their own height. In both experiments, we found that participants were most accurate judging targets that were near their own height. Whereas in Experiment 1 participants were always standing, we manipulated current height in Experiment 2 by having a seated and standing condition. Because accuracy was best for congruent trials (e.g., judging targets near seated height while seated), we concluded that people are using their current height to aid in judgments. To test the real-world implications of these findings, in Experiment 3, participants judged the heights of other people, rather than artificial targets. Again, we found that eye height influenced judgments of others' heights. These experiments provide evidence that EH scaling used in perception is preserved in memory.
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