A theory of shape constancy based on perspective invariants

Vision Research
Z Pizlo

Abstract

Shape constancy refers to the phenomenon in which the percept of the shape of a given object remains constant despite changes in the shape of the object's retinal image. The phenomenon of shape constancy is considered from historical, theoretical and empirical perspectives in this paper. First, four prior theories are discussed; specifically, (1) Helmholtzian theory, which assumes that shape constancy is achieved by taking an object's orientation into account, (2) Gestalt theory, which assumes that shape constancy involves a relationship between the perceived shape and perceived orientation of an object, (3) Gibsonian theory, which assumes that shape constancy is based on projective invariants and (4) multiple view theory, which assumes that shape constancy is achieved by memorizing a large set of different views of the object. It is shown, by an analysis of the prior literature, that none of these theories can actually explain the phenomenon of shape constancy. A new theory, which is based on new perspective invariants of a flat shape, is then proposed. The new Perspective Invariants Theory can account for all prior shape constancy experiments. New experiments, testing predictions of the Perspective Invariants Theory are then ...Continue Reading

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