2005 volume 34(7) pages 857 – 867
doi:10.1068/p5219

Cite as:
Renier L, Laloyaux C, Collignon O, Tranduy D, Vanlierde A, Bruyer R, De Volder A G, 2005, "The Ponzo illusion with auditory substitution of vision in sighted and early-blind subjects" Perception 34(7) 857 – 867

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The Ponzo illusion with auditory substitution of vision in sighted and early-blind subjects

L Renier, C Laloyaux, O Collignon, D Tranduy, A Vanlierde, R Bruyer, A G De Volder

Received 12 February 2004, in revised form 22 November 2004; published online 6 July 2005

Abstract. We tested the effects of using a prosthesis for substitution of vision with audition (PSVA) on sensitivity to the Ponzo illusion. The effects of visual experience on the susceptibility to this illusion were also assessed. In one experiment, both early-blind and blindfolded sighted volunteers used the PSVA to explore several variants of the Ponzo illusion as well as control stimuli. No effects of the illusion were observed. The results indicate that subjects focused their attention on the two central horizontal bars of the stimuli, without processing the contextual cues that convey perspective in the Ponzo figure. In a second experiment, we required subjects to use the PSVA to consider the two converging oblique lines of the stimuli before comparing the length of the two horizontal bars. Here we were able to observe susceptibility to the Ponzo illusion in the sighted group, but to a lesser extent than in a sighted non-PSVA control group. No clear effect of the ilusion was obtained in early-blind subjects. These results suggest that, at least in sighted subjects, perception obtained with the PSVA shares perceptual processes with vision. Visual experience appears mandatory for a Ponzo illusion to occur with the PSVA.

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