Ebbinghaus illusion

he Ebbinghaus illusion or Titchener circles is an optical illusion of relative size perception. Named for its discoverer, the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850–1909), the illusion was popularized in the English-speaking world by Edward B. Titchener in a 1901 textbook of experimental psychology, hence its alternative name.[1] In the best-known version of the illusion, two circles of identical size are placed near to each other, and one is surrounded by large circles while the other is surrounded by small circles. As a result of the juxtaposition of circles, the central circle surrounded by large circles appears smaller than the central circle surrounded by small circles.

Recent work suggests that two other critical factors involved in the perception of the Ebbinghaus illusion are the distance of the surrounding circles from the central circle and the completeness of the annulus, which makes the illusion comparable in nature to the Delboeuf illusion. Regardless of relative size, if the surrounding circles are closer to the central circle, the central circle appears larger and if the surrounding circles are far away, the central circle appears smaller. While the distance variable appears to be an active factor in the perception of relative size, the size of the surrounding circles limits how close they can be to the central circle, resulting in many studies confounding the two variables.[1]


Further References

Franz, V. H., Bülthoff, H. H., & Fahle, M.. (2003). Grasp effects of the Ebbinghaus illusion: Obstacle avoidance is not the explanation. Experimental Brain Research

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1007/s00221-002-1364-6
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Haffenden, A. M., Schiff, K. C., & Goodale, M. A.. (2001). The dissociation between perception and action in the Ebbinghaus illusion: Nonillusory effects of pictorial cues on grasp. Current Biology

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/S0960-9822(01)00023-9
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Franz, V. H., & Gegenfurtner, K. R.. (2008). Grasping visual illusions: Consistent data and no dissociation. In Cognitive Neuropsychology

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1080/02643290701862449
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Franz, V. H., Gegenfurtner, K. R., Bülthoff, H. H., & Fahle, M.. (2000). Grasping visual illusions: No evidence for a dissociation between perception and action. Psychological Science

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/1467-9280.00209
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Song, C., Schwarzkopf, D. S., & Rees, G.. (2011). Interocular induction of illusory size perception. BMC Neuroscience

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1186/1471-2202-12-27
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Doherty, M. J., Campbell, N. M., Tsuji, H., & Phillips, W. A.. (2010). The Ebbinghaus illusion deceives adults but not young children. Developmental Science

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2009.00931.x
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Rose, D., & Bressan, P.. (2002). Going round in circles: Shape effects in the Ebbinghaus illusion. Spatial Vision

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1163/15685680252875165
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de Fockert, J., Davidoff, J., Fagot, J., Parron, C., & Goldstein, J.. (2007). More Accurate Size Contrast Judgments in the Ebbinghaus Illusion by a Remote Culture. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1037/0096-1523.33.3.738
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Metin, B., & Tavil, A.. (2014). Environmental assessment of external wall cladding construction. Architectural Science Review

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1080/00038628.2013.862610
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Parron, C., & Fagot, J.. (2007). Comparison of Grouping Abilities in Humans (Homo sapiens) and Baboons (Papio papio) With the Ebbinghaus Illusion. Journal of Comparative Psychology

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1037/0735-7036.121.4.405
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Franz, V. H.. (2003). Planning versus online control: Dynamic illusion effects in grasping?. Spatial Vision

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1163/156856803322467491
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Vishton, P. M., Stephens, N. J., Nelson, L. A., Morra, S. E., Brunick, K. L., & Stevens, J. A.. (2007). Planning to reach for an object changes how the reacher perceives it. Psychological Science

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01965.x
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Plodowski, A., & Jackson, S. R.. (2001). Vision: Getting to grips with the Ebbinghaus illusion. Current Biology

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/S0960-9822(01)00170-1
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Kopiske, K. K., Bruno, N., Hesse, C., Schenk, T., & Franz, V. H.. (2016). The functional subdivision of the visual brain: Is there a real illusion effect on action? A multi-lab replication study. Cortex

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2016.03.020
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Nakamura, N., Watanabe, S., & Fujita, K.. (2008). Pigeons perceive the Ebbinghaus-Titchener circles as an assimilation illusion.. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Behavior Processes

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1037/0097-7403.34.3.375
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Danckert, J. A., Sharif, N., Haffenden, A. M., Schiff, K. C., & Goodale, M. A.. (2002). A temporal analysis of grasping in the Ebbinghaus illusion: Planning versus online control. Experimental Brain Research

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1007/s00221-002-1073-1
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Pickett, C. L.. (2001). The effects of entitativity beliefs on implicit comparisons between group members. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1177/0146167201275001
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Haffenden, A. M., & Goodale, M. A.. (1998). The effect of pictorial illusion on prehension and perception. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1162/089892998563824
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Sovrano, V. A., Albertazzi, L., & Rosa Salva, O.. (2014). The Ebbinghaus illusion in a fish (Xenotoca eiseni). Animal Cognition

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1007/s10071-014-0821-5
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Glover, S., & Dixon, P.. (2002). Dynamic effects of the Ebbinghaus illusion in grasping: Support for a planning/control model of action. Perception and Psychophysics

Plain numerical DOI: 10.3758/BF03195791
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Káldy, Z., & Kovács, I.. (2003). Visual context integration is not fully developed in 4-year-old children. Perception

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1068/p3473
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Byosiere, S. E., Feng, L. C., Woodhead, J. K., Rutter, N. J., Chouinard, P. A., Howell, T. J., & Bennett, P. C.. (2017). Visual perception in domestic dogs: susceptibility to the Ebbinghaus–Titchener and Delboeuf illusions. Animal Cognition

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1007/s10071-016-1067-1
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Duemmler, T., Franz, V. H., Jovanovic, B., & Schwarzer, G.. (2008). Effects of the Ebbinghaus illusion on children’s perception and grasping. Experimental Brain Research

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1007/s00221-007-1229-0
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Massaro, D. W., & Anderson, N. H.. (1971). Judgmental model of the Ebbinghaus illusion. Journal of Experimental Psychology

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1037/h0031158
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Roberts, B., Harris, M. G., & Yates, T. A.. (2005). The roles of inducer size and distance in the Ebbinghaus illusion (Titchener circles). Perception

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1068/p5273
DOI URL
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