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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 Shifted-Chessboard Pattern as Paradigm of the Exegesis of Geometrical-Optical Illusions

The Shifted-Chessboard Pattern as Paradigm of the Exegesis of Geometrical-Optical Illusions

Chapter:
(p.308) Chapter 36 The Shifted-Chessboard Pattern as Paradigm of the Exegesis of Geometrical-Optical Illusions
Source:
The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions
Author(s):

Gerald Westheimer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.003.0036

The shifted chessboard or café wall illusion yields to analysis at the two poles of the practice of vision science: bottom-up, pursuing its course from the visual stimulus into the front end of the visual apparatus, and top-down, figuring how the rules governing perception might lead to it. Following the first approach, examination of the effects of light spread in the eye and of nonlinearity and center-surround antagonism in the retina has made some inroads and provided partial explanations; with respect to the second, principles of perspective and of continuity and smoothness of contours can be evoked, and arguments about perception as Bayesian inference can be joined. Insights from these two directions are helping neurophysiologists in their struggle to identify a neural substrate of the phenomenon Münsterberg described in 1897.

Keywords:   Münsterberg, café wall illusion, perception, retina, contour, center-surround antagonism, top-down, bottom-up

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