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The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions$
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Arthur G. Shapiro and Dejan Todorovic

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199794607

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.001.0001

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The Leaning Tower Illusion

The Leaning Tower Illusion

Chapter:
(p.221) Chapter 21 The Leaning Tower Illusion
Source:
The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions
Author(s):

Frederick A. A. Kingdom

Ali Yoonessi

Elena Gheorghiu

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.003.0021

The Leaning Tower Illusion is the illusion in which two identical images of the Leaning Tower of Pisa photographed from below, placed side by side, appear to rise at different angles. The illusion is not restricted to the Pisa tower however; it occurs in any pair of identical images of objects that appear to recede into the distance. This chapter argues that the illusion results from the misapplication of the visual system’s in-built mechanisms for correcting the distortions due to perspective in two-dimensional images of three-dimensional scenes. The relationship between the Leaning Tower illusion and size constancy illusions is discussed, and it is concluded that they are likely to be closely related.

Keywords:   illusion, perspective, Leaning Tower, Pisa, size constancy

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