Contraction of Perceived Size and Perceived Depth in MirrorsReport as inadecuate

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Psicologica: International Journal of Methodology and Experimental Psychology, v26 n1 p81-95 2005

We investigated how size and depth are perceived in a plane or convex mirror. In Experiment 1, using a plane or convex mirror, 20 observers viewed a separation between two objects that were presented at a constant distance and reproduced it by a separation between other two objects in a natural viewing situation. The mean matches generally approximated the real size of the standard and did not equal either virtual size or visual angle of the standard. In addition, the mean matches obtained with convex mirrors were reduced by about 7% in comparison with those obtained with the plane mirror. In Experiment 2, we examined whether the perceived depth in a convex mirror is comparable to that in a plane mirror. We presented isosceles triangles on a table and required 12 observers to observe them with a plane or convex mirror. With the method of limits, we determined the triangle that was perceived as an equilateral triangle. When the apexes of isosceles triangles were directed to the observer or to depth, the ratio of height to base was larger in convex mirrors than in the plane mirror, whereas when the apexes were directed to left or to right, the ratio of height to base was smaller in the convex mirrors than in the plane mirror. The contraction of perceived depth amounted to about 6% in convex mirrors. The results of both experiments suggest that although separation and depth in convex mirrors appear to reduce, there is a strong tendency that visual system recovers the optical distortions by convex mirrors. (Contains 4 tables and 4 figures.)

Descriptors: Geometric Concepts, Experiments, Research Methodology, Effect Size, Research Design, Participant Observation, Cues, Spatial Ability, College Students, Higher Education, Stimuli, Mathematical Concepts, Equations (Mathematics)

University of Valencia. Dept. Metodologia, Facultad de Psicologia, Avda. Blasco Ibanez 21, 46010 Valencia, Spain. Tel: +34-96-386-4100; Web site:

Author: Higashiyama, Atsuki; Shimono, Koichi; Zaitsu, Wataru


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