Psychological Research

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 135–142 | Cite as

Resolving discrepant results of the Wheatstone Experiment

  • H. Ono
  • N. J. Wade


Soon after Wheatstone published his results obtained with the twelve earliest stereograms. Brewster disputed the result obtained with one of them. This stereogram consisted of a thick vertical line presented to one eye and a thin vertical and thick inclined line to the other. Wheatstone reported seeing depth with this figure but Brewster did not. We conducted three experiments to explore the possible reason for the disagreement. Experiment 1 indicated that the stereogram produces a variety of perceptions including the depth as reported by Wheatstone and the rivalry as reported by Brewster. Experiment 2 showed that Brewster's procedure of keeping the eyes fixed while viewing the stereogram reduces the proportion of subjects reporting depth. In Experiment 3, the top half and the bottom half of the stereogram were presented in different trials. The top of the stereogram that contains no conflicting cues produced reliable depth, but the bottom that does, did not. It is concluded that the difference in the procedures they used and the nature of the stimulus were responsible for the conflicting results.


Vertical Line Discrepant Result Bottom Half Incline Line Thick Vertical Line 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Ono
    • 1
  • N. J. Wade
    • 2
  1. 1.York UniversityNorth YorkCanada
  2. 2.Dundee UniversityDundeeScotland DD1 4HN, UK

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