The underestimation of egocentric distance: evidence from frontal matching tasks.Atten Percept Psychophys 2011; 73(7):2205-17AP
There is controversy over the existence, nature, and cause of error in egocentric distance judgments. One proposal is that the systematic biases often found in explicit judgments of egocentric distance along the ground may be related to recently observed biases in the perceived declination of gaze (Durgin & Li, Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, in press), To measure perceived egocentric distance nonverbally, observers in a field were asked to position themselves so that their distance from one of two experimenters was equal to the frontal distance between the experimenters. Observers placed themselves too far away, consistent with egocentric distance underestimation. A similar experiment was conducted with vertical frontal extents. Both experiments were replicated in panoramic virtual reality. Perceived egocentric distance was quantitatively consistent with angular bias in perceived gaze declination (1.5 gain). Finally, an exocentric distance-matching task was contrasted with a variant of the egocentric matching task. The egocentric matching data approximate a constant compression of perceived egocentric distance with a power function exponent of nearly 1; exocentric matches had an exponent of about 0.67. The divergent pattern between egocentric and exocentric matches suggests that they depend on different visual cues.