Curved movement paths and the Hering illusion: Positions or directions?

Jeroen B.J. Smeets*, Eli Brenner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


When trying to move in a straight line to a target, participants produce movement paths that are slightly (but systematically) curved. Is this because perceived space is curved, or because the direction to the target is systematically misjudged? We used a simple model to investigate whether continuous use of an incorrect judgement of the direction to the target could explain the curvature. The model predicted the asymmetries that were found experimentally when moving across a background of radiating lines (the Hering illusion). The magnitude of the curvature in participants' movements was correlated with their sensitivity to the illusion when judging a moving dot's path, but not with their sensitivity when judging the straightness of a line. We conclude that a misjudgement of direction causes participants to perceive a straight path of a moving dot as curved and to produce curved movement paths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-274
Number of pages20
JournalVisual Cognition
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004


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