Effects of color and luminance contrast on size perception—evidence from a horizontal parallel lines illusion

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Abstract

The present study investigated a size illusion composed of two horizontal lines that were vertically separated and parallel to each other. When the two lines were of equal length, the upper line was consistently perceived to be a little longer than the lower line, therefore it was termed as horizontal parallel lines (HPL) illusion. We investigated the effect of color and luminance contrast on the HPL illusion by manipulating the color and luminance of the two lines. Results indicated the following: (1) differences in color between the two lines reduced the illusion; (2) differences in luminance between the two lines reduced the illusion; (3) Effect 1 was greater than Effect 2; (4) the illusory effect could not be affected as long as both of the lines were of the same color or luminance. The results suggest that the color or luminance contrast may contribute to the overall decrease in the illusory effect for lines with different colors/luminances, but generally the illusion decreases as the two lines are less similar to each other. These findings indicate that the similarity or ‘sameness’ effect dominates the effect of color/luminance contrast on the size illusion over the effect resulted from contrast difference or depth perception.

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Zhang, X., Qian, J., Liang, Q., & Huang, Z. (2018). Effects of color and luminance contrast on size perception—evidence from a horizontal parallel lines illusion. Vision (Switzerland), 2(3). https://doi.org/10.3390/vision2030028

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