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Space Constancy vs Shape Constancy

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

The perceived distance between objects has been found to decrease over time in memory, demonstrating a partial failure of space constancy. Such mislocalization has been attributed to a generalized compression effect in memory. We confirmed this drift with a pair of remembered dot positions but did not find a compression of perceived distance when the space between the dots was filled with a connecting line. When the dot pairs were viewed eccentrically the compression in memory was substantially less. These results are in line with a combination of factors previously demonstrated to cause distortion in spatial memory — foveal bias and memory averaging — rather than a general compression of remembered visual space. Our findings indicate that object shape does not appear to be vulnerable to failures of space constancy observed with remembered positions.

Affiliations: 1: Center for Brain and Cognition, Department of Information Technology and Communication, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 08018 Barcelona, Spain;, Email:; 2: Centre for Vision Research, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3, Department of Psychology, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3


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