An empirical taxonomy of visual illusions

Stanley Coren, Joan S. Girgus, Howard Erlichman, A. Ralph Hakstian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


A classification system for visual-geometric illusions, based upon the interrelationships between behavioral responses to various distortions was created. Forty-five illusion configurations were presented to 221 observers. Factor analysis revealed that there are five classes of illusions. A secondorder analysis revealed that visual distortions are ultimately reducible to two global types of distortions: illlusions of extent and illusions of shape or direction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalPerception & Psychophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1976

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • General Psychology


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