The Effect of Line-Figure Information on the Magnitude of the Dot Forms of the Poggendorff and Müller-Lyer Illusions

Perception. 1986;15(4):483-90. doi: 10.1068/p150483.


The magnitudes of the dot and line forms of the Poggendorff illusion and the Brentano version of the Müller-Lyer illusion were assessed in two groups of subjects: the informed group was given information about the implied figure configuration in the dot pattern, the uninformed group was not. The informed group produced a significantly greater dot illusion than the uninformed group, and there was no difference between the two groups in the magnitudes of the line illusions. The experiments are discussed in the context of Coren and Porac's proposal that illusion-inducing mechanisms can be divided into structural and cognitive components. The results suggest that about 64% of the magnitude of the Poggendorff illusion and about 54% of the Müller-Lyer illusion can be attributed to the involvement of cognitive factors.

MeSH terms

  • Attention
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illusions*
  • Male
  • Optical Illusions*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual