Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Zöllner Illusion

  • Michael J. BeranEmail author
  • Audrey E. Parrish
  • Christian Agrillo
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_657-1

Visual illusions involve experiences of perceiving visual stimuli in ways that do not align with reality. These illusions take many forms, including illusions of numerosity, movement, and size. These illusions as experienced by humans are often also experienced by nonhuman animals. The comparative perspective on visual illusions has provided a wealth of information about how visual processing works across species, highlighting potentially conserved and evolutionarily ancient mechanisms that represent the visual world incorrectly. These illusions are valuable also as a means to understanding how visual perception works.

One important visual illusion is called the Zöllner illusion. This illusion is characterized by how humans respond to viewing two parallel lines that appear to be convergent when oblique crosshatches are superimposed on them (see Fig. 1, column 3). There has been debate about why this illusion occurs in humans, and potential causes include the crucial contribution of...
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Beran
    • 1
    Email author
  • Audrey E. Parrish
    • 2
  • Christian Agrillo
    • 3
  1. 1.Georgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.The CitadelCharlestonUSA
  3. 3.University of PaduaPaduaItaly

Section editors and affiliations

  • Joseph Boomer
    • 1
  1. 1.Missouri Southern State UniversityJoplinUSA