Advertisement

Animal Cognition

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 471–481 | Cite as

A reversed Ebbinghaus–Titchener illusion in bantams (Gallus gallus domesticus)

  • Noriyuki NakamuraEmail author
  • Sota Watanabe
  • Kazuo Fujita
Original Paper

Abstract

A disk surrounded by smaller disks looks larger, and one surrounded by larger disks looks smaller than reality. This visual illusion, called the Ebbinghaus–Titchener illusion, remains one of the strongest and most robust illusions induced by contrast with the surrounding stimuli in humans. In the present study, we asked whether bantams would perceive this illusion. We trained three bantams to classify six diameters of target disks surrounded by inducer disks of a constant diameter into “small” or “large”. In the test that followed, the diameters of the inducer disks were systematically changed. The results showed that the Ebbinghaus–Titchener figures also induce a strong illusion in bantams, but in the other direction, that is, bantams perceive a target disk surrounded by smaller disks to be smaller than it really is and vice versa. Possible confounding factors, such as the gap between target disk and inducer disks and the weighted sum of surface of these figural elements, could not account for the subjects’ biased responses. Taken together with the pigeon study by Nakamura et al. (J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process 34:375–387 2008), these results show that bantams as well as pigeons perceive an illusion induced by assimilation effects, not by contrast ones, for the Ebbinghaus–Titchener types of illusory figures. Perhaps perceptual processes underlying such illusory perception (i.e., lack of contrast effects) shown in bantams and pigeons may be partly shared among other avian species.

Keywords

Geometric illusion The Ebbinghaus–Titchener illusion Animal perception Bantams 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (19-7134 to N. Nakamura; 17300085 and 20220004 to K. Fujita) and the MEXT Global COE Program “Revitalizing Education for Dynamic Hearts and Minds,” D-07 to Kyoto University, Japan. We are grateful to J. R. Anderson, University of Stirling, for careful editing of an earlier version of the manuscript.

References

  1. Aglioti S, DeSouza JFX, Goodale MA (1995) Size-contrast illusions deceive the eye but not the hand. Curr Biol 5:679–685PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bowmaker JK, Heath LA, Wilkie SE, Hunt DM (1997) Visual pigments and oil droplets from six classes of photoreceptor in the retinas of birds. Vision Res 37:2183–2194PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cavoto KK, Cook RG (2001) Cognitive precedence for local information in hierarchical stimulus processing by pigeons. J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process 27:3–16PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Choplin JM, Medin DL (1999) Similarity of the perimeters in the Ebbinghaus illusion. Percept Psychophys 61:3–12PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Coren S, Enns JT (1993) Size contrast as a function of conceptual similarity between test and inducers. Percept Psychophys 54:579–588PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. de Lillo C, Palumbo M, Spinozzi G, Giustino G (2011) Attention allocation modulates the processing of hierarchical visual patterns: a comparative analysis of capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) and humans. J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process 37:341–352PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Donis FJ, Heinemann EG (1993) The object-line inferiority effect in pigeons. Percept Psychophys 53:117–122PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fujita K (2001) Perceptual completion in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) and pigeons (Columba livia). Percept Psychophys 63:115–125PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fujita K (2004) How do nonhuman animals perceptually integrate figural fragments? Jpn Psychol Res 46:154–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fujita K, Nakamura N, Watanabe S (in press) Visual illusion in a comparative perspective. In: Shapiro A, Todorovic D (eds) The Oxford compendium of visual illusions. Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  11. Fujita K, Ushitani T (2005) Better living by not completing: a wonderful peculiarity of pigeon vision? Behav Process 69:59–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fujita K, Ushitani T (2006) How do primates and birds recognize figures? In: Fujita K, Itakura S (eds) Diversity of cognition: evolution, development, domestication, and pathology. Kyoto University Press, Kyoto, pp 38–54Google Scholar
  13. Fujita K, Blough DS, Blough PM (1991) Pigeons see the Ponzo illusion. Anim Learn Behav 19:283–293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fujita K, Blough DS, Blough PM (1993) Effects of the inclination of context lines on perception of the Ponzo illusion by pigeons. Anim Learn Behav 21:29–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fujita K, Nakamura N, Sakai A, Watanabe S, Ushitani T (2012) Amodal completion and illusory perception in birds and primates (Chapter 7). In: Lazareva O, Shimizu T, Wasserman E (eds) How animals see the world: comparative behavior, biology, and evolution of vision. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 101–116Google Scholar
  16. Girgus JS, Coren S, Agdern M (1972) The interrelationship between the Ebbinghaus and Delboeuf illusions. J Exp Psychol 95:453–455PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Goto T, Uchiyama I, Imai A, Takahashi S, Hanari T, Nakamura S, Kobari H (2007) Assimilation and contrast in optic illusions. Jpn Psychol Res 49:33–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jitsumori M, Natori M, Okuyama K (1999) Recognition of moving video images of conspecifics by pigeons: effects of individuals, static and dynamic motion cues, and movement. Anim Learn Behav 27:303–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kelly DM, Cook RG (2003) Differential effects of visual context on pattern discrimination by pigeons (Columba livia) and humans (Homo sapiens). J Comp Psychol 117:200–208PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Morinaga S (1956) An examination of the conditions determining size-contrast. Paper presented at the 20th annual meeting of the Japanese Psychological Association, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  21. Murayama T, Usui A, Takeda E, Kato K, Maejima K (2012) Relative size discrimination and perception of the Ebbinghaus illusion in a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Aquat Mamm 38:333–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nakamura N, Fujita K, Ushitani T, Miyata H (2006) Perception of the standard and the reversed Müller-Lyer figures in pigeons (Columba livia) and humans (Homo sapiens). J Comp Psychol 120:252–261PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nakamura N, Watanabe S, Fujita K (2008) Pigeons perceive the Ebbinghaus–Titchener circles as an assimilation illusion. J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process 34:375–387PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nakamura N, Watanabe S, Fujita K (2009a) Further analysis of perception of the standard Müller-Lyer figures in pigeons (Columba livia) and humans (Homo sapiens): effects of length of brackets. J Comp Psychol 123:287–294PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nakamura N, Watanabe S, Fujita K (2009b) Further analysis of perception of reversed Müller-Lyer figures for pigeons (Columba livia). Percept Mot Skills 108:239–250PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nakamura N, Watanabe S, Betsuyaku T, Fujita K (2010) Do bantams (Gallus gallus domesticus) experience amodal completion? An analysis of visual search performance. J Comp Psychol 124:331–335PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nakamura N, Watanabe S, Betsuyaku T, Fujita K (2011a) Do bantams (Gallus gallus domesticus) amodally complete? An analysis of line length classification performance. J Comp Psychol 125:411–419PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nakamura N, Watanabe S, Betsuyaku T, Fujita K (2011b) Do birds (pigeons and bantams) know how confident they are of their perceptual decisions? Anim Cognit 14:83–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Navon D (1977) Forest before trees: the precedence of global features in visual perception. Cogn Psychol 9:353–383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Parron C, Fagot J (2007) Comparison of grouping abilities in humans (Homo sapiens) and baboons (Papio papio) with the Ebbinghaus illusion. J Comp Psychol 121:405–411PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Post RB, Welch RB, Caufield K (1998) Relative spatial expansion and contraction within the Müller-Lyer and Judd illusions. Perception 27:827–838PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Roberts B, Harris MG, Yates TA (2005) The roles of inducer size and distance in the Ebbinghaus illusion (Titchener circles). Perception 34:847–856PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Robinson JO (1998) The psychology of visual illusion. Dover, Mineola, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  34. Watanabe S (2001) Discrimination of cartoons and photographs in pigeons: effect of scrambling of elements. Behav Process 53:3–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Watanabe S, Nakamura N, Fujita K (2011) Pigeons perceive a reversed Zöllner illusion. Cognition 119:137–141PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Weintraub DJ (1979) Ebbinghaus illusion: context, contour, and age influence the judged size of a circle amidst circles. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 5:353–364PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noriyuki Nakamura
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Sota Watanabe
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kazuo Fujita
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of LettersKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Japan Society for the Promotion of ScienceTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Center for Frontier ScienceChiba UniversityChibaJapan

Personalised recommendations