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Article

Size-distance rescaling in the ensemble representation of range: Study with binocular and monocular cues

Acta Psychologica. 2021. Vol. 213.

According to numerous studies observers can rapidly and precisely evaluate mean or range of the set. Recent studies have shown that the mean size estimated based on sizes of objects rescaled to their distances (Tiurina & Utochkin, 2019). In the current study, we directly tested this rescaling mechanism on the perception of range using binocular and monocular cues.

In Experiment 1, a sample set of circles with different angular sizes and in different apparent distances were stereoscopically presented. Participants had to adjust the range of the test set to match the range of the sample set. The main manipulation was the size-distance correlation for sample and test sets: in negative size-distance correlation, the apparent range had to decrease, while in positive correlation - increase. We found the highest underestimation in the condition with the negative sample correlation and positive test correlation, which could be explained only if ensemble summary statistics were estimated after the item's rescaling.

In Experiment 2, we used Ponzo-like illusion and spatial positions as a depth cue. Sets were presented with positive, negative or without size-distance correlation on a grey background or the background with Ponzo-like illusion. We found that the range was underestimated in negative correlation and overestimated in positive correlation.

Thus, items of ensemble could be automatically rescaled according to their distance, based on both binocular and monocular cues, and ensemble summary statistics estimation is based on perceived sizes.