September 2021
Volume 21, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2021
The effect of binocular disparities on the Mona Lisa effect: Examination of the effect of disparities given to different components of a portrait
Author Affiliations
  • Marie Morita
    Ritsumeikan University, Japan
  • Yoshitaka Fujii
    Ritsumeikan University, Japan
    Kumamoto University, Japan
  • Takao Sato
    Ritsumeikan University, Japan
Journal of Vision September 2021, Vol.21, 2480. doi:
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      Marie Morita, Yoshitaka Fujii, Takao Sato; The effect of binocular disparities on the Mona Lisa effect: Examination of the effect of disparities given to different components of a portrait. Journal of Vision 2021;21(9):2480.

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

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The gaze and face orientation of a person depicted in a portrait painting appears to follow observers when they move around. This is called the Mona Lisa effect (MLE). The binocular gradient of disparity on the picture surface indicates the slant of picture surface, but pictorial cues from the facial parts (relative positions and occlusions between them) indicate the face is facing straight to the observer. Morita et al. (2020) showed that the existence of pictorial cues suppresses the functioning of binocular disparities when the MLE occurs. In this study, we examined the effect of disparities given to the background, the external frame, and the face on the occurrence of MLE by using the perceived facial width of slanted portrait as an index as for our previous study. In Experiment 1, we presented 2D portraits rotated ±30 degrees around z-axis as test stimuli and a line-drawing oval as the reference. We used lowpass-filtered random-dot texture as the background to enhance the disparity cues. Observers judged which, the face or the reference, appears wider. The results showed that the MLE intensity was almost equal regardless of the existence of background. In Experiment 2, we measured the MLE intensity for portraits containing disparity only in the external frame or only in the facial part, and compare the results with those obtained from portraits containing disparities in both components. It was found that the intensity was almost equal between the three conditions. In sum, the present results demonstrated two intriguing aspects of the MLE; (1) the disparity gradient given to the picture background does not affect the intensity of MLE, and (2) the disparity given to either the picture frame or the facial part, or both generate the MLE of about the same intensity.


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