Raudsepp J, Djupsjöbacka M, 2005, "Handgrip maximum force and the visual horizontal - vertical illusion" Perception 34(4) 421 – 428
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Handgrip maximum force and the visual horizontal - vertical illusion
Jaanus Raudsepp, Mats Djupsjöbacka
Received 8 April 2003, in revised form 16 August 2004; published online 22 April 2005
Abstract. The visual horizontal - vertical illusion (HVI) refers to the tendency to overestimate vertical distances relative to horizontals in both 2-D and 3-D presentations. Although the HVI is evident across a wide range of different stimuli, no general theoretical account fully explains the illusion. Some recent authors have proposed the 'effort' account of HVI, contending that vertical overestimation is mediated by effort assessment of gravitational challenges offered by the stimulus. The theory has been supported by a set of studies showing that the height overestimation of large-scale 3-D objects is inversely related to perceivers' fitness and strength. We explored if the large-scale HVI/strength dependence extends to the evaluation of small-scale 2-D line stimuli, traditionally used in HVI studies. We measured the maximum handgrip strength, and assessed the HVI with a computerised line-adjustment task in thirty-two individuals. Compatible with earlier findings in the context of large-scale 3-D stimuli, a significant negative correlation was found between the strength of the dominant hand and amount of HVI. In addition, the variability of HVI was negatively correlated with maximum grip strength of both hands. The results are discussed with reference to the 'effort' account of HVI.
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