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The role of perceived relative position in pointing to objects apparently shifted by depth-contrast

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image of Spatial Vision
For more content, see Multisensory Research and Seeing and Perceiving.

This paper is concerned with the information used in open-loop pointing to visually perceived targets. Stereoscopic stimuli were used to produce illusory relative egocentric distances, which were inconsistent with the angles of vergence required to fuse the targets. One of the stimuli was a rectangle slanted around a vertical axis. Four participants in Experiment 1 reported its slant and pointed to its edges. The slant was hugely underestimated (condition A) unless the rectangle was flanked by other surfaces (condition B). The relative depth of a pair of dots placed in front of the rectangle was also misperceived due to depth-contrast effect. The critical finding is that pointing responses were not based on vergence but were consistent with depth estimates, both for the rectangle and for the dots. Experiment 2 revealed the conditions necessary for pointing to be consistent with perceived relative position. The different target distances were either randomised allowing inter-trial comparisons, or presented only one per session to prevent them. Pointing was similar to estimates only in the randomised condition showing the significance of inter-trial comparisons. It is proposed that participants used the remembered motor command and kinesthetic sensations of a previous movement as a reference, attempting to make the difference between successive movements the same as a visually perceived depth difference between successive targets.


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