Distinct cognitive and neural mechanisms underlie perception and action in near (within-reach) and far (outside-reach) space. Objects in far space can be brought into the brain's near-space through tool-use. We determined whether a near object can be pushed into far space by changing the pictorial context in which it occurs. Participants (n= 372) made relative length judgements for lines presented in near space, but superimposed over photographs of near and far objects. The left segment of the line was overestimated in the baseline and near-context conditions whereas the right was overestimated in the far-context. The change from leftward to rightward overestimation is the same when lines are physically shifted from near to far space. Because participants did not have to do anything in relation to the photograph, the results suggest that simply viewing images with a near/far context can cause a shift of attention along the distal/proximal axis, which may reflect differential activation of the ventral/dorsal visual streams.
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