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The Muller-Lyer illusion explained by the statistics of image-source relationships.


ABSTRACT: The Müller-Lyer effect, the apparent difference in the length of a line as the result of its adornment with arrowheads or arrow tails, is the best known and most controversial of the classical geometrical illusions. By sampling a range-image database of natural scenes, we show that the perceptual effects elicited by the Müller-Lyer stimulus and its major variants are correctly predicted by the probability distributions of the possible physical sources underlying the relevant retinal images. These results support the conclusion that the Müller-Lyer illusion is a manifestation of the probabilistic strategy of visual processing that has evolved to contend with the uncertain provenance of retinal stimuli.

SUBMITTER: Howe CQ 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC544622 | BioStudies | 2005-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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