Contextual effects of scene on the visual perception of object orientation in depth

PLoS One. 2013 Dec 31;8(12):e84371. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084371. eCollection 2013.


We investigated the effect of background scene on the human visual perception of depth orientation (i.e., azimuth angle) of three-dimensional common objects. Participants evaluated the depth orientation of objects. The objects were surrounded by scenes with an apparent axis of the global reference frame, such as a sidewalk scene. When a scene axis was slightly misaligned with the gaze line, object orientation perception was biased, as if the gaze line had been assimilated into the scene axis (Experiment 1). When the scene axis was slightly misaligned with the object, evaluated object orientation was biased, as if it had been assimilated into the scene axis (Experiment 2). This assimilation may be due to confusion between the orientation of the scene and object axes (Experiment 3). Thus, the global reference frame may influence object orientation perception when its orientation is similar to that of the gaze-line or object.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depth Perception / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Visual Perception / physiology*

Grant support

This study was supported by Grant-in-Aid for Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellows, awarded to RN. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.