The influence of previously seen objects' sizes in distance judgments

R. Sousa, J.B.J. Smeets, E. Brenner

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    An object's retinal image size is determined by a combination of its physical size and its distance, so judgments of an object's size and distance from its retinal image size are coupled. Since one does not have direct access to information about the object's physical size, people may make assumptions about how large it is likely to be. Here we investigated whether the sizes of similar, previously encountered objects influence the assumptions about the physical size of an object and therefore the interpretation of its retinal image size in terms of its distance. Subjects moved their unseen index finger to the positions of binocular simulations of red cubes. For identical target cubes at the same position, they indicated a nearer position of the cube when the preceding cube was small than when it was big. This is in agreement with a tendency to expect the cube to be the same size as that on the previous trial. However, if the expectation were simply adjusted slightly on each trial, the cube would be judged to be nearer when preceded by two consecutive smaller cubes than when preceded by only one smaller cube. It was not, so there must be a more direct influence of the size in the previous trial on distance judgments. © 2013 ARVO.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number2
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    JournalJournal of Vision
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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