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Samy Rima, Carla Khalil, Benoit R. Cottereau, Yves Trotter, Jean-Baptiste Durand; Asymmetry of pictorial space: A cultural phenomenon. Journal of Vision 2019;19(4):22. doi: 10.1167/19.4.22.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Art experts have argued that the mirror reversal of pictorial artworks produces an alteration of their spatial content. However, this putative asymmetry of the pictorial space remains to be empirically proved and causally explained. Here, we address these issues with the “corridor illusion,” a size illusion triggered by the pictorial space of a receding corridor. We show that mirror-reversed corridors—receding respectively leftward and rightward—induce markedly different illusion strengths and thus convey distinct pictorial spaces. Remarkably, the illusion is stronger with the rightward corridor among native left-to-right readers (French participants, n = 40 males) but conversely stronger with the leftward corridor among native right-to-left readers (Syrian participants, n = 40 males). Together, these results demonstrate an asymmetry of the pictorial space and point to our reading/writing habits as a major cause of this phenomenon.
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