Getting a grip on illusions: replicating Stöttinger et al [Exp Brain Res (2010) 202:79–88] results with 3-D objects


Studies using visual illusions to demonstrate a dissociation within the visual system can provide relevant and decisive data only if certain methodological points are taken into account. Although, our previous work (Stöttinger et al. in Exp Brain Res 202:88–97, 2010) followed these points, the task made use of only 2-D stimuli which may raise doubts concerning the nature of grasping in that experiment. We therefore replicated the study using a 3-D version of the empty space illusion. Consistent with the earlier study, that used 2-D stimuli, we found that grip aperture followed actual target size independent of illusory effects, while perceived length, as indicated by finger-thumb span, clearly was subject to the illusion. Therefore, the prior results cannot be due to the use of 2-D stimuli. Together, these two studies provide clear evidence for the perception versus action hypothesis.

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Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    For more details concerning apparatus and procedure see Stöttinger et al. (2010).

  2. 2.

    The mean slope of the MGA was .78 (SE = .04). It appeared at 74.93% of the grasping time. These data perfectly replicate previous findings in the literature (e.g., Jeannerod 1984; Smeets and Brenner 1999).


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Correspondence to Elisabeth Stöttinger.

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Stöttinger, E., Pfusterschmied, J., Wagner, H. et al. Getting a grip on illusions: replicating Stöttinger et al [Exp Brain Res (2010) 202:79–88] results with 3-D objects. Exp Brain Res 216, 155–157 (2012).

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  • Visual illusion
  • Vision for perception
  • Vision for action
  • Critical methodological issues
  • 3-D stimuli