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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 Dungeon Illusion

The Dungeon Illusion

Chapter:
(p.332) Chapter 40 The Dungeon Illusion
Source:
The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions
Author(s):

Paola Bressan

Peter Kramer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.003.0040

A target gray spot looks darker on a white background than on a black one: the contrast illusion. If the target is embedded in a context consisting of black spots on the white background and white spots on the black background, the effect reverses: the dungeon illusion. Whether the dungeon figure produces contrast or contrast reversal depends on which of its three parts (target, context, and background) is gray, black, or white. In some variants, the effect further depends on whether the figures are themselves surrounded by larger white and black regions, implying that even the illumination and wall color of the laboratory might be critical. Here, the various versions of the dungeon illusion are presented and explained with the help of the double-anchoring theory of lightness—that computes the gray shade of objects by “anchoring” them both to their context and to the brightest region in the scene.

Keywords:   Dungeon illusion, lightness, double-anchoring, contrast illusion, reverse

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