Poster B91, Sunday, March 25, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Kids don’t see what we see: Young children are less likely to experience an illusion that requires perceptual integration
Kay Otsubo1, Danielle Lim1, Asaf Gilboa2, Morgan Barense1, Amy Finn1; 1University of Toronto, 2Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest
Previous work has shown that children are less susceptible than adults to the Ebbinghaus illusion (Doherty et al., 2010). That is, children are better at correctly identifying the larger of two target circles when presented with surrounding circles that make the target circle appear misleadingly larger or smaller. In the current study, we investigated the hypothesis that children do not experience this powerful illusion because perceptual integration is less “automatic” due to ongoing hippocampal development (Lee et al., 2014). Here, 43 children (aged 4-10 years) were asked to identify the larger or longer item of two targets for three different illusions – Ebbinghaus, Sander’s, and Vertical-Horizontal. In the Ebbinghaus illusion, the target circles are visually disconnected from their surroundings. However, in the Sander’s and Vertical-Horizontal illusion, the target lines are either connected with their surroundings or with each other, respectively. The younger aged children (4-6 years) did not perceive the Ebbinghaus illusion, correctly identifying the larger circle more often in misleading contexts than the older children (7-10 years). For the Sander’s and Vertical-Horizontal illusion, however, the younger children were equivalently susceptible as older children. Younger children are therefore immune to an illusion when the target items are visually disconnected from surrounding perceptual information. These findings suggest that children younger than 7 years do not automatically integrate spatially disconnected visual information. This could be a result of ongoing maturation of neural structures central to these processes, such as the medial temporal lobe and hippocampus (Barense et al., 2010).
Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Development & aging