My own face looks larger than yours: A self-induced illusory size perception

Cognition 212 (C):104718 (2021)
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Abstract

Size perception of visual objects is highly context dependent. Here we report a novel perceptual size illusion that the self-face, being a unique and distinctive self-referential stimulus, can enlarge its perceived size. By using a size discrimination paradigm, we found that the self-face was perceived as significantly larger than the other-face of the same size. This size overestimation effect was not due to the familiarity of the self-face, since it could be still observed when the self-face was directly compared with a famous face. More crucially, such illusion effect could be extended to a new cartoon face that was transiently associated with one's own face and could also exert further contextual influences on visual size perception of other objects. These findings together highlight the role of self-awareness in visual size perception and point to a special mechanism of size perception tuned to self-referential information.

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Yi Jiang
Yale University

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