Constancies and Illusions

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By Kate0801
Words 879
Pages 4
Constancies and Illusions
What are Perceptual Constancies?
* Tendency for the perception of an object to stay constant despite changes in stimuli
* Perceptual constancies rescue us from confusion
* They allow us to identify objects with different stimuli
Three types of constancies:
* Size
* Shape
* Brightness

Size Constancy
* The most studied of all constancies is size constancy, the fact that an object’s size remains relatively constant no matter what its distance. As an object moves farther away from us, we generally do not see it as decreasing in size. Hold a quarter a foot in front of you and then move it out to arm’s length. Does it appear to get smaller? Not noticeably so. Yet the retinal image of the quarter when it is 24 inches away is half the size of the retinal image of the quarter when it is 12 inches away. We certainly do not perceive the quarter as becoming half its size as we move it an arm’s length. Like other constancies, however, size constancy is not perfect; very distant objects appear to be smaller than the same objects close up, as anyone knows who has looked down from a tall building or from an airplane in flight.

Shape Constancy
* Tendency for the perceived shape of an object to remain constant despite changes in its retinal image.
Ex. A book will have the same shape regardless of the angle it is viewed from.

Brightness Constancy
* Tendency for the perceived brightness of an object to stay the same as long as it is illuminated by the same amount of light.
* Object and background must have same lighting
Ex. A book on a lighted desk is the same as the one in a dark room.


a misrepresentation of a “real” sensory stimulus that is, an interpretation that contradicts objective “reality” as defined by general agreement. For example, a child who perceives tree branches at night as…...

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