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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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Why the Concept of “Visual Illusions” Is Misleading

Why the Concept of “Visual Illusions” Is Misleading

Chapter:
(p.139) Chapter 9 Why the Concept of “Visual Illusions” Is Misleading
Source:
The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions
Author(s):

Dale Purves

William T. Wojtach

R. Beau Lotto

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.003.0009

A common misconception is that we see the world in accord with physical reality but are sometimes fooled in special circumstances that give rise to discrepancies between reality and what we perceive (visual illusions). Evidence accumulated over the past decade, however, indicates that all visual perceptions are at odds with the physical parameters of the world. Since biological visual systems cannot measure the world but must nonetheless afford the ability to behave in it, animals create biologically determined visual stimuli based on their value to reproductive success. In light of this evidence, the phrase “visual illusions” is misleading and should be abandoned.

Keywords:   visual perception, physical reality, visual illusions, visual perceptions, reproductive success

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