Normal susceptibility to visual illusions in abnormal development: Evidence from Williams syndrome

Melanie Palomares, Chinyere Ogbonna, Barbara Landau, Howard Egeth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The perception of visual illusions is a powerful diagnostic of implicit integration of global information. Many illusions occur when length, size, orientation, or luminance are misjudged because neighboring visuospatial information cannot be ignored. We asked if people with Williams syndrome (WS), a rare genetic disorder that results in severely impaired global visuospatial construction abilities, are also susceptible to the context of visual illusions. Remarkably, we found that illusions influenced WS individuals to the same degree as normal adults, although size discrimination was somewhat impaired in WS. Our results are evidence that illusions are a consequence of the brain's bias to implicitly integrate visual information, even in a population known to have difficulty in explicitly representing spatial relationships among objects. Moreover, these results suggest that implicit and non-implicit integration of spatial information have different vulnerabilities in abnormal development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-199
Number of pages14
JournalPerception
Volume38
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence

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