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Pu Zheng, Yan Dong, Yi Le, Yuhao Sun, Guoliang Yu, Paul C. Quinn, Kang Lee; The nose-size illusion: Testing the role of visual context. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):149. doi: 10.1167/15.12.149.
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The nose-size illusion refers to the fact that when the size of a face’s frame is changed but the nose size unchanged, we observe the nose size to be different from that in the original face frame (Rakover, 2011; Xiao et al., 2014). Here, we examined whether this illusion is face-specific or a result of visual expertise by comparing the size of the nose illusion in the context of face or word processing. In Experiment 1, in the face condition (Figure 1c & d), Chinese participants (n = 29) judged which nose was bigger on two otherwise identical upright or inverted faces. The face frame sizes differed from the original by 6%, 14% & 20% with the nose size unchanged. In the word condition (Figure 1a & b), participants judged which square (the lower-half part of the word) was bigger on two otherwise identical upright or inverted Chinese words. The frame was square to resemble the Chinese word shape. In Experiment 2, the frame was changed to oval to resemble the face shape (Figure 1b & d). Participants’ illusory perception was greater on Chinese faces than Chinese words at all degrees of variations in both experiments (Figure 2a & b), F(1, 28) = 52.90, p < .05, η2 = .65; F(2, 26) = 40.61, p < .001, η2 = .76. In Experiment 2, stimulus category, orientation, and degree of variation was significant, F (2, 26) = 4.07, p < .01, η2 = .24. Further, the illusion on upright faces was greater than that on inverted faces, but the square-size illusion was greater on the inverted words than upright words (Figure 2b). These findings suggest that different visual expertise may play different role in engendering the nose versus square illusions, and more generally how we perceive feature sizes in a context.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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