Distortions of posterior visual space.Perception. 2009; 38(7):1045-52.P
The study of spatial vision is a long and well traveled road (which, of course, converges to a vanishing point at the horizon). Its various distortions have been widely investigated empirically, and most concentrate, pragmatically, on the space anterior to the observer. The visual world behind the observer has received relatively less attention and it is this perspective the current experiments address. Our results show systematic perceptual distortions in the posterior visual world when viewed statically. Under static viewing conditions, observer's perceptual representation was consistently 'spread' in a hyperbolic fashion. Directions to distant, peripheral locations were consistently overestimated by about 11 degrees from the ground truth and this variability increased as the target was moved toward the center of the observer's back. The perceptual representation of posterior visual space is, no doubt, secondary to the more immediate needs of the anterior visual world. Still, it is important in some domains including certain sports, such as rowing, and in vehicular navigation.