Visual perception of collinearity

R.H. Cuijpers, A.M.L. Kappers, J.J. Koenderink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)
134 Downloads (Pure)


In a metrical space, there exists an intimate relation between collinearity and parallelity. In particular, in a Riemannian space collinearity is just a special case of parallelity. Is this true for visual space as well? We investigated the visual perception of collinearity by having subjects align two bars in the horizontal plane at eye height. The distances of the bars from the subject and the angles at which they were placed were varied. We found deviations of up to 22 degrees. The deviations of the left and right bars could be split into two independent components: namely, the sum and the difference of the deviations of the left and right bars. We found that the former depended only on the ratio between the distances of each bar from the subject, whereas the latter was largely independent of the positions of the bars. The difference in deviations corresponded to the deviation from parallelity. Compared with the results in the parallelity task (Cuijpers, Kappers, & Koenderink, 2000b), the deviations from parallel were much smaller. As a consequence, the results of the two experiments cannot be described by the same Riemannian geometry. This indicates that the intrinsic geometry of visual space differs across tasks. This is conceivable if the intrinsic geometry of visual space is operationally defined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-404
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Visual perception of collinearity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this