In the rubber hand illusion one’s hand is hidden, and a fake hand is visible. We explored the situation in which visual information was available indirectly in a mirror. In the mirror condition, compared to the standard condition , we found no reduction of the RHI following synchronised stimulation, as measured by crossmanual pointing and by a questionnaire. We replicated the finding with a smaller mirror that prevented visibility of the face. The RHI was eliminated when a wooden block replaced (...) the fake hand, or when the hand belonged to another person or mannequin. We conclude that awareness of the reflection is the critical variable, despite the distant visual localisation of the hand in a mirror and the third-person perspective. Stimuli seen in a mirror activate the same response as stimuli seen in peripersonal space, through knowledge that they are near one’s body. (shrink)
Visiting a museum and seeing an original artwork can be a special experience. We use a survey and a set of hypothetical questions to explore how such experience would be affected by changes in how the artwork is seen. In a first study, participants imagined that they had travelled to see a painting that they particularly like. They discover that it is impossible to directly see the original painting. Three alternatives are offered: seeing an optical reflection (using a mirror), seeing (...) a video screening (a closed-circuit camera) or seeing a reproduction. In all cases it is made clear that the size, brightness, and resolution will match that of the original. In addition, these options could be within the same room as the original, in the room next door, or in a different building. Results show that physical distance did not affect significantly the responses. However, there was an overall preference for seeing a reproduction as opposed to an optical or digital image. Contrary to the idea that the original is always superior to a copy, many people felt that a direct view of a copy is a preferable experience than an indirect view. The second study was focused directly on the comparison between a mirror and a monitor. Here we highlighted the fact that for the mirror light coming from the mirror originated from the painting. Data were collected in Britain and in China. In both cases there was a clear preference for the mirror over the monitor. (shrink)
Naive physics beliefs can be systematically mistaken. They provide a useful test-bed because they are common, and also because their existence must rely on some adaptive advantage, within a given context. In the second part of the commentary we also ask questions about when a whole family of misbeliefs should be considered together as a single phenomenon.
Additional evidence is presented concerning the anisotropy between vertical and horizontal encoding, which emerges from studies of human perception and cognition of space in plane mirror reflections. Moreover, it is suggested that the non-metric characteristic of polarization is not limited to the vertical dimension.
The limitations of the concept of internalised kinematic geometry have been recognised by Barlow, Hecht, Kubovy & Epstein, and Todorovic. I am in agreement but I still find the perception of curvature in two frames of apparent motion fascinating and I suggest some new directions. [Barlow; Hecht; Kubovy & Epstein; Shepard; Todorovic].