Manipulating stereopsis and vergence in an outdoor setting: Moon, sky and horizon

  • Enright J
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A simple stimulus generator has been constructed that permits a small illuminated target to be seen with variable inter-ocular disparity, when superimposed upon the binocular view of an outdoor landscape. This device was applied to several questions involving perception of size, distance and orientation, with the following results: 1. (1) when the apparent distance to an "artificial moon", as perceived through stereopsis, is decreased by about 50-fold (from near horizon to about 60 m), its apparent size is reduced by only a miniscule amount (8% on average); hence, the moon illusion is probably not due to compensation-conscious or subconscious-for its apparent distance. 2. (2) those changes in apparent size known as convergence micropsia vary as a function of the visual surround; for a vergence change of 1 deg, greater perceived change in size of a small target arises when a landscape is seen nearby than with empty sky as surround. 3. (3) when a target is shown somewhat above the horizon against an empty sky, it must be viewed with divergence of the visual axes (image positions for "hyper-infinite" distance), in order to be perceived as vertically above objects on the skyline; this effect implies a strong backward tilt to the apparent vertical and probably reflects an attempt to "null out" the perceptual consequences of the convergence that typically occurs during downward saccades. © 1989.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Apparent vertical
  • Micropsia
  • Moon illusion
  • Size-distance relationships
  • Stereopsis
  • Vergence

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  • J. T. Enright

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