Backus B T, Banks M S, 1998, "Estimator reliability predicts perception of cue-conflict stimuli" Perception 27 ECVP Abstract Supplement
Estimator reliability predicts perception of cue-conflict stimuli
B T Backus, M S Banks
The human perceptual system often has several methods available for constructing a representation (percept) of the environment. Each method defines an estimator, and each estimator's reliability depends on the calculation it uses and the noise in the signal measurements that go into the calculation. Assuming that the system knows the reliability of each estimator and weights estimates optimally according to the reliabilities, one can predict the percept that results in a cue-conflict situation. We developed such a modified weak fusion model for surface slant perception. Specifically, we examined the geometric effect (apparent slant from horizontal magnification of one eye's image) and the induced effect (slant from vertical magnification). Ogle reported that slant-nulling settings increase systematically with viewing distance in the geometric and induced effects. Gillam, Rogers, and colleagues reported that estimated slant increases with distance in the geometric effect, but not in the induced effect.
We first attempted to replicate the slant-nulling and slant-estimation experiments. The results were consistent with the literature. Next, we analysed the available signals and modeled perceived slant using estimator reliabilities. The model explains the apparent contradiction in the literature. Moreover, if eye position is manipulated appropriately, the model predicts that apparent slant will increase with distance for vertical, but not horizontal, magnification. This remarkable prediction was confirmed experimentally.
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