Faculty Research and Creative Activity

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2002


We examined the effect of visual experience on the haptic Mu« ller-Lyer illusion. Subjects made size estimates of raised lines by using a sliding haptic ruler. Independent groups of blind- folded-sighted, late-blind, congenitally blind, and low-vision subjects judged the sizes of wings-in and wings-out stimuli, plain lines, and lines with short vertical ends. An illusion was found, since the wings-in stimuli were judged as shorter than the wings-out patterns and all of the other stimuli. Subjects generally underestimated the lengths of lines. In a second experiment we found a nonsignificant difference between length judgments of raised lines as opposed to smooth wooden dowels. The strength of the haptic illusion depends upon the angles of the wings, with a much stronger illusion for more acute angles. The effect of visual status was nonsignificant, suggesting that spatial distortion in the haptic Mu« ller-Lyer illusion does not depend upon visual imagery or visual experience.

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