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Journal Of Vision


Recent observations suggest that perceived visual direction in the sagittal plane (angular direction in elevation, both upward and downward from eye level) is exaggerated. Foley, Ribeiro-Filho, and Da Silva's (2004) study of perceived size of exocentric ground extent implies that perceived angular direction in azimuth may also be exaggerated. In the present study, we directly examined whether perceived azimuth direction is overestimated. In Experiment 1, numeric estimates of azimuth direction (−48° to 48° relative to straight ahead) were obtained. The results showed a linear exaggeration in perceived azimuth direction with a gain of about 1.26. In Experiment 2, a perceptual extent-matching task served as an implicit measure of perceived azimuth direction. Participants matched an egocentric distance in one direction to a frontal extent in nearly the opposite direction. The angular biases implied by the matching data well replicated Foley et al.'s finding and were also fairly consistent with the azimuth bias function found in Experiment 1, although a slight overall shift was observed between the results of the two experiments. Experiment 3, in which half the observers were tilted sideways while making frontal/depth extent comparisons, suggested that the discrepancy between the results of Experiment 1 and 2 can partially be explained by a retinal horizontal vertical illusion affecting distance estimation tasks. Overall the present study provides converging evidence to suggest that the perception of azimuth direction is overestimated.


This work is freely available courtesy of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).

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