Psychological Research

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 99–112 | Cite as

Spatial and fixation conditions affecting the temporal course of changes in perceived relative distance

  • Eugene R. Wist
  • Eric Summons


The results of two experiments are reported in which the change over time in the perceived depth location of a monocular, luminous test object with respect to two binocular luminous stimuli located at different distances was measured. It was found that: 1) The test object receded perceptually in depth over time achieving a stable location in space after 4 min of viewing. 2) The initial perceived location in depth of the test object depended upon which of the two binocular objects was fixated. When the farther binocular object was fixated the test object appeared further away than when the nearer one was fixated. 3) The size of the further binocular object also affected the initial perceived location of the test object. When it was larger, the test object appeared further away than when it was smaller. 4) There was an interaction between the binocular object fixated upon and the lateral separation between it and the test object: the smaller the separation, the greater the fixation effect.

These results were accounted for in terms of the equidistance tendency, the depth adjacency principle, and a possible attentional factor. Taken together the results indicate that while reduced viewing conditions reduce the available stimulus information, they do not reduce the organizational options of the visual system.


Fixation Effect Visual System Relative Distance Test Object Fixation Condition 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eugene R. Wist
    • 1
  • Eric Summons
    • 1
  1. 1.Whitely Psychology LaboratoriesFranklin and Marshall CollegeLancasterUSA

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