Knowledge Effects On Slant Estimation Are Mediated By Conscientiousness

Document Type

Poster Session

Publication Date


Published In

Journal Of Vision


Estimates of (geographical) hill slant are often higher for women than men. We collected estimates of slant for several hills from a cross-section of people from the nearby community and from college students. Prior research has suggested that knowledge about hill slant (e.g., from experience with skiing) has a corrective impact on hill slant estimation but that this could not account for sex differences found (Stigliani et al., 2010). We looked for sex-linked effects on estimation that might be due to personality factors (Agreeableness, Conscientiousness and Emotional Stability) and spatial skills (Mental Rotation) as well as fitness (BMI) and height. Participants were 58 students (27 female, age range 18-22) and 48 non-students (33 female, age range 18-72). Three hills were tested in fixed order (9°, 22.5° and 4.5°). At the first hill a manual slant match (free hand measure), a visual slant match, and a verbal estimate were collected (in that order). Only verbal estimates were collected at the other two hills. Participants subsequently filled out personality surveys, did a mental rotation task, identified background knowledge they might have about hill slant perception/estimation and provided demographic information. All three measures given for the first hill were reliably correlated with one another (manual/visual r=0.50; visual/verbal r=0.54; manual/verbal r=0.33), so we report analyses of the verbal estimates across all three hills. None of the factors we considered could explain the sex differences in slant estimation in our study. We did find strong effects of knowledge concerning slant (which lowered slant estimates), and a reliable trend for slant estimates to become lower (more accurate) with increasing age (possibly an effect of increasing implicit knowledge). The effect of knowledge was mediated by Conscientiousness such that conscientious people were more likely to take their knowledge of slant overestimation into account when estimating slant.


Vision Sciences Society Fifteenth Annual Meeting

Conference Dates

May 15-20, 2015

Conference Location

St. Pete Beach, Florida