The Effect Of Misleading Prior Information On The Subjective Visual Vertical

Ellis, Andrew W.; Mast, Fred W. (April 2014). The Effect Of Misleading Prior Information On The Subjective Visual Vertical (Unpublished). In: 24th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Neural Control of Movement. Amsterdam, The Nederlands. 21.-25.04.2014.

When tilted sideways participants misperceive the visual vertical assessed by means of a luminous line in otherwise complete dark- ness. A recent modeling approach (De Vrijer et al., 2009) claimed that these typical patterns of errors (known as A- and E-effects) could be explained by as- suming that participants behave in a Bayes optimal manner. In this study, we experimentally manipulate participants’ prior information about body-in-space orientation and measure the effect of this manipulation on the subjective visual vertical (SVV). Specifically, we explore the effects of veridical and misleading instructions about body tilt orientations on the SVV. We used a psychophys- ical 2AFC SVV task at roll tilt angles of 0 degrees, 16 degrees and 4 degrees CW and CCW. Participants were tilted to 4 degrees under different instruction conditions: in one condition, participants received veridical instructions as to their tilt angle, whereas in another condition, participants received the mis- leading instruction that their body position was perfectly upright. Our results indicate systematic differences between the instruction conditions at 4 degrees CW and CCW. Participants did not simply use an ego-centric reference frame in the misleading condition; instead, participants’ estimates of the SVV seem to lie between their head’s Z-axis and the estimate of the SVV as measured in the veridical condition. All participants displayed A-effects at roll tilt an- gles of 16 degrees CW and CCW. We discuss our results in the context of the Bayesian model by De Vrijer et al. (2009), and claim that this pattern of re- sults is consistent with a manipulation of precision of a prior distribution over body-in-space orientations. Furthermore, we introduce a Bayesian Generalized Linear Model for estimating parameters of participants’ psychometric function, which allows us to jointly estimate group level and individual level parameters under all experimental conditions simultaneously, rather than relying on the traditional two-step approach to obtaining group level parameter estimates.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology

UniBE Contributor:

Ellis, Andrew and Mast, Fred


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology


[4] Swiss National Science Foundation


[1207] Mental Imagery and Perceptual Learning




Andrew William Ellis

Date Deposited:

03 Jul 2014 11:41

Last Modified:

21 Oct 2021 14:02


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