The contribution of stereopsis in Emmert’s law Academic Article uri icon


  • Size constancy is the ability to perceive objects as remaining constant in size regardless of their distance from the observer. Emmert's law demonstrates that viewing distance determines the perceived size of afterimages according to the amount of depth cues that are available. Using an afterimage paradigm, we examined to what extent removing stereopsis and other depth cues affects size-distance scaling. Thirty participants 'projected' afterimages onto a surface presented at different distances under binocular, monocular, and eyes-closed conditions. The perceived size of the afterimages closely followed the size-distance scaling predictions made by Emmert's law under binocular testing conditions, when all depth cues were available. In contrast, monocular testing decreased adherence to Emmert's law, while the eyes-closed condition resulted in a greater breakdown of size-distance scaling. Because we used an afterimage paradigm, this study provides the first demonstration of how perceived size is modulated by the availability of depth cues under conditions with a constant retinal image stimulus.

publication date

  • 2020