The Perception and Content of Cast Shadows: An Interdisciplinary Review

Hannah M. Dee, Paulo E. Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, psychologists have turned their attention to the study of cast shadows and demonstrated that the human perceptual system values information from shadows very highly in the perception of spatial qualities, sometimes to the detriment of other cues. However with some notable and recent exceptions, computer vision systems treat cast shadows not as signal but as noise. This paper provides a concise yet comprehensive review of the literature on cast shadow perception from across the cognitive sciences, including the theoretical information available, the perception of shadows in human and machine vision, and the ways in which shadows can be used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-253
Number of pages28
JournalSpatial Cognition and Computation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Perception
  • Shadows
  • Spatial perception
  • Spatial reasoning


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