August 2012
Volume 12, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2012
Infants’ perception of the hollow-face illusion: Examining evidence for an inversion effect.
Author Affiliations
  • Sherryse Corrow
    Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota
  • Jordan Mathison
    Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota
  • Carl Granrud
    School of Psychological Sciences, University of Northern Colorado
  • Albert Yonas
    Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota
Journal of Vision August 2012, Vol.12, 1277. doi:
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      Sherryse Corrow, Jordan Mathison, Carl Granrud, Albert Yonas; Infants’ perception of the hollow-face illusion: Examining evidence for an inversion effect.. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):1277.

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

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Last year at VSS, we reported that 6 month-old-infants perceive the hollow-face illusion. Infants reached preferentially to the center of a concave mask during monocular viewing and to the edges of the mask during binocular viewing, indicating that they perceived the mask as convex when viewing it monocularly. However, it is unclear whether infants perceive this illusion as a result of an assumption that faces are convex or a more general convexity assumption. The current study investigated whether the infant visual system makes a face-specific convexity assumption in perceiving the hollow-face illusion. For adults, the illusion is less effective when the mask is inverted than when upright, suggesting that a face-specific convexity assumption plays a role in perceiving that a concave mask is convex. Method: Infants were presented with an upright and an inverted concave mask. Half of the infants viewed the mask monocularly (n=24) and the other half viewed the mask binocularly (n=28). Infants were allowed to reach for the mask and we observed the trajectory of their reaches. Results: Infants in both the upright and inverted conditions reached more often to the center of the display in the monocular condition (61% upright; 65% inverted) than in the binocular condition (15% upright; 16% inverted). Monocular versus binocular comparisons were significant for both the upright (p<0.001) and inverted (p<0.001) conditions. There was no effect of inversion. Conclusion: The results replicate the previous finding that 6-month-old infants perceive the hollow-face illusion. However, unlike adults, we found no evidence of an inversion effect, suggesting that their perception of the hollow-face illusion results from a general assumption that objects tend to be convex, not from an assumption that faces in particular are convex. Future work will examine this question by evaluating the strength of a "hollow potato" illusion

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012


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