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The Poggendorff illusion affects manual pointing as well as perceptual judgements

Melmoth, D. R., Tibber, M.S., Grant, S. & Morgan, M. J. (2009). The Poggendorff illusion affects manual pointing as well as perceptual judgements. Neuropsychologia, 47(14), pp. 3217-3224. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.07.024


Pointing movements made to a target defined by the imaginary intersection of a pointer with a distant landing line were examined in healthy human observers in order to determine whether such motor responses are susceptible to the Poggendorff effect. In this well-known geometric illusion observers make systematic extrapolation errors when the pointer abuts a second line (the inducer). The kinematics of extrapolation movements, in which no explicit target was present, where similar to those made in response to a rapid-onset (explicit) dot target. The results unambiguously demonstrate that motor (pointing) responses are susceptible to the illusion. In fact, raw motor biases were greater than for perceptual responses: in the absence of an inducer (and hence also the acute angle of the Poggendorff stimulus) perceptual responses were near-veridical, whilst motor responses retained a bias. Therefore, the full Poggendorff stimulus contained two biases: one mediated by the acute angle formed between the oblique pointer and the inducing line (the classic Poggendorff effect), which affected both motor and perceptual responses equally, and another bias, which was independent of the inducer and primarily affected motor responses. We conjecture that this additional motor bias is associated with an undershoot in the unknown direction of movement and provide evidence to justify this claim. In conclusion, both manual pointing and perceptual judgements are susceptible to the well-known Poggendorff effect, supporting the notion of a unitary representation of space for action and perception or else an early locus for the effect, prior to the divergence of processing streams.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Action; Perception; Dorsal; Ventral; Pointing; Illusions
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Optometry & Visual Sciences
SWORD Depositor:
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