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Modeling the time-dependent effect of the Ebbinghaus illusion on grasping

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For more content, see Multisensory Research and Seeing and Perceiving.

Various authors have reported a small but consistent effect of the Ebbinghaus illusion on the maximum opening of the hand during prehension. This effect has been interpreted in various ways. In the present study, we focus on the time-course of the effect of contextual elements on grasping. The analysis presented here is based on a model for the control of the digits that uses two movement parameters (the approach parameter and the intended contact positions). These two parameters are based on different spatial attributes (flanker-target distance and target-edge position). As we assume that the perception of both attributes is veridical, there is no need for on-line corrections in the model. We show that this model predicts all time-dependent effects of the Ebbinghaus display on grasping. Human behavior can show a reduction in context effects over time without assuming an underlying shift from illusory towards veridical size information.


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