Curvature Blindness Illusion

Iperception. 2017 Nov 24;8(6):2041669517742178. doi: 10.1177/2041669517742178. eCollection 2017 Nov-Dec.


We report a novel illusion--curvature blindness illusion: a wavy line is perceived as a zigzag line. The following are required for this illusion to occur. First, the luminance contrast polarity of the wavy line against the background is reversed at the turning points. Second, the curvature of the wavy line is somewhat low; the right angle is too steep to be perceived as an illusion. This illusion implies that, in order to perceive a gentle curve, it is necessary to satisfy more conditions--constant contrast polarity--than perceiving an obtuse corner. It is notable that observers exactly "see" an illusory zigzag line against a physically wavy line, rather than have an impaired perception. We propose that the underlying mechanisms for the gentle curve perception and those of obtuse corner perception are competing with each other in an imbalanced way and the percepts of corner might be dominant in the visual system.

Keywords: contours or surfaces; curvature perception; illusion; perception.