Advertisement

A meta-analysis of the size-weight and material-weight illusions

  • Elizabeth J. SacconeEmail author
  • Oriane Landry
  • Philippe A. Chouinard
Theoretical Review

Abstract

The current study comprises the first systematic meta-analysis of weight illusions. We obtained descriptive data from studies in which subjective heaviness estimates were made for pairs or groups of objects that had the same mass and different volumes (size–weight illusion; SWI) or different apparent material properties (material–weight illusion; MWI). Using these data, we calculated mean effect sizes to represent illusion strength. Other study details, including stimulus mass, volume, density, and degree of visual and somatosensory access to the stimuli were also recorded to quantify the contribution of these variables to effect sizes for the SWI. The results indicate that the SWI has a larger mean effect size than the MWI and that the former is consistent in strength when information about stimulus size is gained through somatosensory channels, regardless of visual access. The SWI is weaker when only the visual system provides size information. Effect sizes for the SWI were larger when there was a greater difference in volume across the stimuli. There was also a positive correlation between SWI strength and the difference in physical density across the different experimental stimuli, even after controlling for volume differences. Together, we argue that these findings provide support for theories of weight illusions that are based on conceptual expectancies as well as those that are based on bottom-up processing of physical density. We further propose that these processes, which have been considered dichotomously in the past, may not be mutually exclusive from each other and could both contribute to our perception of weight when we handle objects in everyday life.

Keywords

Size-Weight illusion Material-Weight illusion Weight perception 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Australian Research Council (DP170103189). We have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Supplementary material

13423_2019_1604_MOESM1_ESM.docx (56 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 56 kb)
13423_2019_1604_MOESM2_ESM.docx (249 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 249 kb)
13423_2019_1604_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (45 kb)
ESM 3 (XLSX 44 kb)

References

  1. Amazeen, E. L., & Turvey, M. T. (1996). Weight perception and the haptic size–weight illusion are functions of the inertia tensor. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 22(1), 213–232.  https://doi.org/10.1037//0096-1523.22.1.213 Google Scholar
  2. Baugh, L. A., Kao, M., Johansson, R. S., & Flanagan, J. R. (2012). Material evidence: Interaction of well-learned priors and sensorimotor memory when lifting objects. Journal of Neurophysiology, 108(5), 1262–1269.  https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.00263.2012 Google Scholar
  3. Borenstein, M., Hedges, L. V., Higgins, J. P., & Rothstein, H. R. (2009). Introduction to meta-analysis. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  4. Buckingham, G. (2014). Getting a grip on heaviness perception: A review of weight illusions and their probable causes. Experimental Brain Research, 232(6), 1623–1629.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-014-3926-9 Google Scholar
  5. Buckingham, G. (2019). Unpublished m aterial-weight illusion dataset. Unpublished raw data.  https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/3VDYN
  6. Buckingham, G., Bieńkiewicz, M., Rohrbach, N., & Hermsdörfer, J. (2015a). The impact of unilateral brain damage on weight perception, sensorimotor anticipation, and fingertip force adaptation. Vision Research, 115, 231–237.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2015.02.005 Google Scholar
  7. Buckingham, G., Byrne, C. M., Paciocco, J., van Eimeren, L., & Goodale, M. A. (2014a). Weightlifting exercise and the size–weight illusion. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 76(2), 452–459.  https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-013-0597-8 Google Scholar
  8. Buckingham, G., Cant, J. S., & Goodale, M. A. (2009). Living in a material world: How visual cues to material properties affect the way that we lift objects and perceive their weight. Journal of Neurophysiology, 102(6), 3111–3118.  https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.00515.2009 Google Scholar
  9. Buckingham, G., & Goodale, M. A. (2010). Lifting without seeing: The role of vision in perceiving and acting upon the size weight illusion. PLOS ONE, 5(3).  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0009709
  10. Buckingham, G., & Goodale, M. A. (2013). Size matters: A single representation underlies our perceptions of heaviness in the size–weight illusion. PLOS ONE, 8(1).  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0054709
  11. Buckingham, G., Goodale, M. A., White, J. A., & Westwood, D. A. (2016a). Equal-magnitude size–weight illusions experienced within and between object categories. Journal of Vision, 16(3), 1–9.  https://doi.org/10.1167/16.3.25 Google Scholar
  12. Buckingham, G., & MacDonald, A. (2016). The weight of expectation: Implicit, rather than explicit, prior expectations drive the size–weight illusion. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69(9), 1831–1841.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2015.1100642 Google Scholar
  13. Buckingham, G., Michelakakis, E. E., & Cole, J. (2016b). Perceiving and acting upon weight illusions in the absence of somatosensory information. Journal of Neurophysiology, 115(4), 1946–1953.  https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.00318.2015 Google Scholar
  14. Buckingham, G., Michelakakis, E. E., & Rajendran, G. (2016c). The influence of prior knowledge on perception and action: Relationships to autistic traits. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(5), 1716–1724.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-2701-0 Google Scholar
  15. Buckingham, G., Milne, J. L., Byrne, C. M., & Goodale, M. A. (2015b). The size–weight illusion induced through human echolocation. Psychological Science, 26(2), 237–242.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797614561267 Google Scholar
  16. Buckingham, G., Ranger, N. S., & Goodale, M. A. (2011a). The material–weight illusion induced by expectations alone. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 73(1), 36–41.  https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-010-0007-4 Google Scholar
  17. Buckingham, G., Ranger, N. S., & Goodale, M. A. (2011b). The role of vision in detecting and correcting fingertip force errors during object lifting. Journal of Vision, 11(1), 4–4.  https://doi.org/10.1167/11.1.4 Google Scholar
  18. Buckingham, G., Ranger, N. S., & Goodale, M. A. (2012). Handedness, laterality and the size-weight illusion. Cortex, 48(10), 1342–1350.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2011.09.007 Google Scholar
  19. Buckingham, G., Reid, D., & Potter, L. M. (2018). How prior expectations influence older adults’ perception and action during object interaction. Multisensory Research, 31(3/4), 301–316.  https://doi.org/10.1163/22134808-00002585 Google Scholar
  20. Buckingham, G., Wong, J. D., Tang, M., Gribble, P. L., & Goodale, M. A. (2014b). Observing object lifting errors modulates cortico-spinal excitability and improves object lifting performance. Cortex, 50, 115–124.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2013.07.004 Google Scholar
  21. Butler, A. A., Héroux, M. E., & Gandevia, S. C. (2015). How weight affects the perceived spacing between the thumb and fingers during grasping. PLOS ONE, 10(5).  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0127983
  22. Card, N. A. (2011). Applied meta-analysis for social science research. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  23. Chang, E. C., Flanagan, J. R., & Goodale, M. A. (2008). The intermanual transfer of anticipatory force control in precision grip lifting is not influenced by the perception of weight. Experimental Brain Research, 185(2), 319–329.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-007-1156-0 Google Scholar
  24. Charpentier, A. (1886). Sur les sensations de poids (note présentée par M. D’Arsonval le 3 avril)[On sensations of weight (note presented by Mr. D’Arsonval on the 3rd of April)]. Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires des Séances et Mémoires de la Société de Biologie, 38, 169–170.Google Scholar
  25. Charpentier, A. (1891). Experimental analysis of some elements of the feeling of weight (Analyse experimentale de quelgues elements de la sensation de poids). Archives de Physiologie Normale et Pathologique, 3, 122–135.Google Scholar
  26. Chouinard, P. A., Large, M. E., Chang, E. C., & Goodale, M. A. (2009). Dissociable neural mechanisms for determining the perceived heaviness of objects and the predicted weight of objects during lifting: An fMRI investigation of the size-weight illusion. NeuroImage, 44(1), 200–212.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.08.023 Google Scholar
  27. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. New York, NY: Routledge Academic.Google Scholar
  28. De Camp, J. (1917). The influence of color on apparent weight: A preliminary study. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 2(5), 347.  https://doi.org/10.1037/h0075903 Google Scholar
  29. Dijker, A. J. M. (2008). Why Barbie feels heavier than Ken: The influence of size-based expectancies and social cues on the illusory perception of weight. Cognition, 106(3), 1109–1125.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2007.05.009 Google Scholar
  30. Dijker, A. J. M. (2014). The role of expectancies in the size-weight illusion: A review of theoretical and empirical arguments and a new explanation. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21(6), 1404–1414.  https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-014-0634-1 Google Scholar
  31. Dresslar, F. B. (1894). Studies in the psychology of touch. The American Journal of Psychology, 6(3), 313–368.  https://doi.org/10.2307/1411644 Google Scholar
  32. Ellis, R. R., & Lederman, S. J. (1993). The role of haptic versus visual volume cues in the size–weight illusion. Perception & Psychophysics, 53(3), 315–324.  https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03205186 Google Scholar
  33. Ellis, R. R., & Lederman, S. J. (1998). The golf-ball illusion: evidence for top-down processing in weight perception. Perception, 27(2), 193-201.  https://doi.org/10.1068/p270193 Google Scholar
  34. Ellis, R. R., & Lederman, S. J. (1999). The material-weight illusion revisited. Perception & Psychophysics, 61(8), 1564–1576.  https://doi.org/10.3758/bf03213118 Google Scholar
  35. Fercho, K., & Baugh, L. A. (2016). Cognitive attribution of the source of an error in object-lifting results in differences in motor generalization. Experimental Brain Research, 234(9), 2667–2676.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-016-4670-0 Google Scholar
  36. Flanagan, J. R., & Beltzner, M. A. (2000). Independence of perceptual and sensorimotor predictions in the size–weight illusion. Nature Neuroscience, 3(7), 737–741.  https://doi.org/10.1038/76701 Google Scholar
  37. Flanagan, J. R., Bittner, J. P., & Johansson, R. S. (2008). Experience can change distinct size–weight priors engaged in lifting objects and judging their weights. Current Biology, 18(22), 1742–1747.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2008.09.042 Google Scholar
  38. Gibson, J. J. (1979). The ecological approach to visual perception. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  39. Grandy, M. S., & Westwood, D. A. (2006). Opposite perceptual and sensorimotor responses to a size–weight illusion. Journal of Neurophysiology, 95(6), 3887–3892.  https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.00851.2005 Google Scholar
  40. Harshfield, S. P., & DeHardt, D. C. (1970). Weight judgment as a function of apparent density of objects. Psychonomic Science, 20(6), 365–366.  https://doi.org/10.3758/bf03335692 Google Scholar
  41. Jones, L. F., & Burgess, P. R. (1998). Neural gain changes subserving perceptual acuity. Somatosensory and Motor Research, 15(3), 190–199.  https://doi.org/10.1080/08990229870754 Google Scholar
  42. Kahrimanovic, M., Bergmann Tiest, W. M., & Kappers, A. (2011). Characterization of the haptic shape–weight illusion with 3D objects. IEEE Transactions on haptics, 4(4), 316–320.  https://doi.org/10.1109/TOH.2011.22 Google Scholar
  43. Landry, O., & Al-Taie, S. (2016). A meta-analysis of the Wisconsin Card Sort Task in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(4), 1220–1235.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-015-2659-3 Google Scholar
  44. Li, Y., Randerath, J., Goldenberg, G., & Hermsdörfer, J. (2007). Grip forces isolated from knowledge about object properties following a left parietal lesion. Neuroscience Letters, 426(3), 187–191.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2007.09.008 Google Scholar
  45. Lipsey, M. W., & Wilson, D. B. (2001). Practical meta-analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
  46. McGlone, F., & Reilly, D. (2010). The cutaneous sensory system. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 34(2), 148–159.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2009.08.004 Google Scholar
  47. Naylor, Y. K., & Amazeen, E. L. (2004). The size–weight illusion in team lifting. Human Factors, 46(2), 349–356.  https://doi.org/10.1518/hfes.46.2.349.37336 Google Scholar
  48. Paulun, V. C., Buckingham, G., Goodale, M. A., & Fleming, R. W. (2019). The material–weight illusion disappears or inverts in objects made of two materials. Journal of Neurophysiology.  https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.00199.2018
  49. Peters, M. A. K., Ma, W. J., & Shams, L. (2016). The size–weight illusion is not anti-Bayesian after all: A unifying Bayesian account. PeerJ, 2016(6).  https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.2124
  50. Plaisier, M. A., & Smeets, J. B. J. (2012). Mass is all that matters in the size–weight illusion. PLOS ONE, 7(8).  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0042518
  51. Plaisier, M. A., & Smeets, J. B. J. (2015). Object size can influence perceived weight independent of visual estimates of the volume of material. Scientific Reports, 5.  https://doi.org/10.1038/srep17719
  52. Podrebarac, S. K., Goodale, M. A., & Snow, J. C. (2014). Are visual texture-selective areas recruited during haptic texture discrimination? NeuroImage, 94, 129–137.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.03.013 Google Scholar
  53. Ross, H. E. (1969). When is a weight not illusory? The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 21(4), 346–355.Google Scholar
  54. Ross, H. E., & Gregory, R. (1970). Weight illusions and weight discrimination—A revised hypothesis. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 22(2), 318–328.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00335557043000267 Google Scholar
  55. Ross, J., & Di Lollo, V. (1970). Differences in heaviness in relation to density and weight. Perception & Psychophysics, 7(3), 161–162.  https://doi.org/10.3758/bf03208648 Google Scholar
  56. Rowe, M. J. (2002). The synaptic linkage for tactile and kinaesthetic inputs to the dorsal column nuclei. In S. C. Gandevia, U. Proske, & D. G. Stuart (Eds.), Sensorimotor control of movement and posture (pp. 47–55). Boston, MA: Springer US.Google Scholar
  57. Saccone, E. J., & Chouinard, P. A. (2019). The influence of size in weight illusions is unique relative to other object features. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 26(1), 77–89.  https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-018-1519-5
  58. Saccone, E. J., Goldsmith, R. M., Buckingham, G., & Chouinard, P. A. (2018). Contrasting the effects of size and liquid volume content on the perceived weight of objects. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  59. Schmidtler, J., & Bengler, K. (2016). Size–weight illusion in human–robot collaboration. Paper presented at the 25th IEEE International Symposium onRobot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), New York, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  60. Seashore, C. E. (1899). Some psychological statistics II. The material weight illusion. University of Iowa Studies in Psychology, 2, 36–46.Google Scholar
  61. Stevens, J. C., & Rubin, L. L. (1970). Psychophysical scales of apparent heaviness and the size–weight illusion. Perception & Psychophysics, 8(4), 225–230.  https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03210210 Google Scholar
  62. Thouless, R. H. (1931). Phenomenal regression to the ‘real’object, II. British Journal of Psychology, 22(1), 1–30.Google Scholar
  63. Vicovaro, M., & Burigana, L. (2017). Contribution of surface material and size to the expected versus the perceived weight of objects. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 79(1), 306–319.  https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-016-1212-6 Google Scholar
  64. Walker, P., Francis, B. J., & Walker, L. (2010). The brightness-weight illusion: Darker objects look heavier but feel lighter. Experimental Psychology, 57(6), 462–469.  https://doi.org/10.1027/1618-3169/a000057 Google Scholar
  65. Walker, P., Scallon, G., & Francis, B. (2017). Cross-sensory correspondences: Heaviness is dark and low-pitched. Perception, 46(7), 772–792.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0301006616684369 Google Scholar
  66. Wolf, C., Bergmann Tiest, W. M., & Drewing, K. (2018). A mass-density model can account for the size–weight illusion. PLOS ONE, 13(2), e0190624.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190624 Google Scholar
  67. Wolfe, H. K. (1898). Some effects of size on judgments of weight. Psychological Review, 5(1), 25–54.  https://doi.org/10.1037/h0073342 Google Scholar
  68. Zhu, Q., & Bingham, G. P. (2011). Human readiness to throw: The size-weight illusion is not an illusion when picking the best objects to throw. Evolution and Human Behavior, 32(4), 288–293.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2010.11.005 Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Psychology and Public HealthLa Trobe UniversityVictoriaAustralia

Personalised recommendations