July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
The taller you are, the smaller the world appears: perceptual distortion of binocular space depends on the size of personal body space
Author Affiliations
  • Amanda Lee
    Department of Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, Brown University
  • Carlo Campagnoli
    Department of Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, Brown University
  • Fulvio Domini
    Department of Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, Brown University\nCenter for Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems@UniTn, Italian Institute of Technology
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 215. doi:10.1167/13.9.215
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      Amanda Lee, Carlo Campagnoli, Fulvio Domini; The taller you are, the smaller the world appears: perceptual distortion of binocular space depends on the size of personal body space. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):215. doi: 10.1167/13.9.215.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

It has been theorized that our body serves as a reference frame in visual perception of sizes and distances. In support of this claim, indirect experimental evidence shows that induced modification of peripersonal space, for example through tool use (Witt, Profitt, and Epstein, 2005) or ownership of magnified/shrunken body parts (van der Hoort, Guterstam, and Ehrsson, 2011), results in modified perception of objects size or egocentric distances. However, direct measures in support of this hypothesis was previously lacking; here we found that scaling of depth from stereo depends on the size of the peripersonal space by testing disparity scaling directly with short and tall observers (corresponding to smaller and larger peripersonal space respectively), without manipulating subject’s perceived personal space. Participants adjusted the depth of a virtual 3D three-rod configuration, in which one central rod was offset in front of two flanking rods, until they perceived a perfect equilateral triangle. Stimuli in this visual depth estimation task were presented in the dark such that stereo cues were isolated. Simulated distance of the stimulus was randomly generated from five possible values (28cm, 46cm, 64cm, 82cm and 100cm). The results were grouped according to height (SHORT: 150<h<160 cm and TALL: 173<h<190 cm). As expected, all subjects demonstrated a lack of shape constancy, as perceived depth of the three-rod configuration decreased with increased distance. More remarkably, findings showed that short observers perceive larger depth extents than tall observers (p <0.03), indicating that scaling distances of tall observers were smaller than those of short observers. These results suggest that scaling of disparities is dependent on the extent of peripersonal space; indeed, this implies that scaling distances within the same external space are more compressed for people with larger body morphologies.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013

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