Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 129–137 | Cite as

An empirical taxonomy of visual illusions

  • Stanley Coren
  • Joan S. Girgus
  • Howard Erlichman
  • A. Ralph Hakstian


A classification system for visual-geometric illusions, based upon the interrelationships between behavioral responses to various distortions was created. Forty-five illusion configurations were presented to 221 observers. Factor analysis revealed that there are five classes of illusions. A secondorder analysis revealed that visual distortions are ultimately reducible to two global types of distortions: illlusions of extent and illusions of shape or direction.


Visual Illusion Poggendorff Illusion Longe Segment Illusion Magnitude Ponzo Illusion 
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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanley Coren
    • 1
  • Joan S. Girgus
    • 2
  • Howard Erlichman
    • 3
  • A. Ralph Hakstian
    • 1
  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.The City College of the City University of New YorkNew York
  3. 3.The Graduate Centre of the City University of New YorkNew York

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