Left of centre: Asymmetries for the horizontal vertical line illusion

Elisha Josev, Jason Forte, Michael Nicholls

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    6 Citations (Scopus)


    This study explored the mechanisms that underlie asymmetries for the horizontal vertical illusion (HVI), which deceives length perception, so that a vertical line is perceived as longer than a horizontal line of equivalent length. In Experiment 1, university students (n = 14) made length judgements for vertical and horizontal lines. The vertical line was shifted in eight steps from the far left of the horizontal line (⌊) to the far right (⌋). An HVI was observed for the medial positions (⊥), which diminished towards the lateral positions. The HVI was also stronger when the vertical line was on the left. Because the left/right asymmetry changed as a function of lateral/medial position, the asymmetry within the HVI stimulus is most likely the result of pseudoneglect, which affects judgements of horizontal length. In Experiment 2, participants (n = 15) made judgements for HVI stimuli presented to the left- and right-hemispace and the midline. The HVI was stronger in the left hemispace. Because the asymmetry between the left- and right-hemispaces did not interact with the asymmetry within the stimuli, it was concluded that the asymmetry between hemispatial positions was the result of right hemisphere susceptibility to illusory geometrical effects whereas the asymmetry within the stimulus is related to an object-centred attentional asymmetry. The HVI is affected by asymmetries in length judgements and susceptibility to illusions and may provide interesting insights into attentional disorders in clinical populations, such as neglect.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)435-443
    Number of pages9
    JournalPsychological Research
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


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