The basis of the Bourdon illusion

Peter Wenderoth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Day (1990) and Day, Mitchell, and Stecher (1990) recently reported new data on the Bourdon illusion, showing that the effect occurs in novel variations of the classic figure-for example, with orthogonal and parallel test edges-and also that it occurs in the haptic modality. Day (1990) criticized theories of the Bourdon effect proposed by Wenderoth, Criss, and van der Zwan (1990), Wenderoth and O'Connor (1987a, 1987b), and Wenderoth, O'Connor, and Johnson (1986), and proposed his own "perceptual compromise" hypothesis. It is argued that Day has inaccurately portrayed the Wenderoth et al theory, and that his own hypothesis lacks predictive power because it lacks any reference to neural mechanisms. Day's theory is thus unable to account for extant data, including his own. It is demonstrated how Day's novel experiments provide insigkts into the mechanisms of the Bourdon effect, and also how the Wenderoth et al theory can account for the new data of Day (1990) and Day et al (1990).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-397
Number of pages5
JournalPerception and Psychophysics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1991

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