On the role of vertical texture cues in height perception

J.F. Stins, G.A. Schulte Fischedick, B.R. Meertens, R. Canal Bruland

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    When people judge height from the top looking down they tend to overestimate vertical distance. Initial findings suggest that this perceptual bias may be in part due to the experienced fear of falling. However, previous studies did not control for potentially relevant optical invariants, especially vertical texture gradient cues, that may inform such perceptual judgments. In this study, we examined to what degree texture gradient cues may account for the perceptual bias in height perception. To this end, in 2 different conditions in which vertical texture gradient cues were either present or absent, participants provided distance and size judgments from an elevated position (5.68 m) and from the ground. Results revealed a systematic overestimation of vertical extent and object size when judged from a height. Yet, the absence or presence of texture gradient cues did not differentially influence these judgments. Finally, although fear levels were reported to be larger at the elevated position than on the ground, fear levels did not correlate with the perceptual bias, thereby demanding further research into the mechanisms underlying the perceptual bias in height perception. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)357-368
    JournalEcological Psychology
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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