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Acta Psychol (Amst). 1992 Mar;79(2):171-87.

The role of frame size on vertical and horizontal observers in the rod-and-frame illusion.

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Dipartimento di Psicologia, Università di Roma La Sapienza, Italy.


The rod-and-frame illusion was used to examine a proposed distinction between the mechanism responsible for frame effects on rod-adjustment errors with large displays and the mechanism responsible for errors with small displays. It was suggested that visual-vestibular mechanisms are involved only when the rod is surrounded by a large tilted frame. Errors in the perceived vertical with small frame would instead be due to purely visual mechanisms. To examine this dual process model, we compared errors at small and large frame when the body was vertical or horizontal. There is evidence to suggest that tilting the body affects visual-vestibular interactions, but there is no reason to expect that body tilt would affect intravisual interactions. Hence, we hypothesized that body tilt would increase errors for large frame, but not for small frame. Eight subjects were tested in four different conditions, corresponding to the combination of two body orientations (vertical versus horizontal) and two frame sizes (47.5 versus 10.5 deg of visual angle). Fourier analysis of data was performed. Repeated measures ANOVA tested the hypothesis about frame size and body orientation. The hypothesis was not confirmed. More specifically, we found that tilting the body increased errors for the small frame as well as for the large frame. The interaction between frame size and body orientation was not significant. Results are discussed in relation to the proposed dual-process model.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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