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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 Venus Effect

The Venus Effect

Chapter:
(p.609) Chapter 86 The Venus Effect
Source:
The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions
Author(s):

Marco Bertamini

Richard Latto

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.003.0086

When an image shows an individual and a mirror, observers tend to describe the scene by saying that the individual is looking at his or her own refection in the mirror, even when the layout makes this impossible. The name comes from the many examples of paintings of Venus with a mirror, but the effect is not specific to pictures or to women. In addition to difficulties understanding what is visible in a mirror from different viewpoints, observers also struggle to appreciate information such as size of images on transparent surfaces, either mirror or windows. These illusions and difficulties stem from the nature of a visual system tuned to distal information and from the need to discard accidental information from changing perspectives.

Keywords:   Venus, perspective, viewpoint, visual system, distal information

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