Essay Example on the Ames Room Experiment

Published: 2018-03-24
Essay Example on the Ames Room Experiment
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Biology Physics
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 984 words
9 min read

Human visual system

In most cases, when we combine both our psychological and physical states with the constantly changing arrays, humans can recognize that not only do we see what objects are, but what it does (Gehringer, & Engel,1986). According to Gibson, this is called the affordance of the objects. It is also the same concept that is used in the Ames room experiment.

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The majority of the humans has two eyes and also has the existence of binocular vision. However, the single lens camera that is usually placed at the front of the Ames room has a monocular vision. As explained by Gehringer, & Engel (1986), monocular is considered to be the same as closing eye, and as such, it only seems that it’s only looking through the other eye. In this case, the distorted room appears “normal” through the use of monocular vision. In light f this, the human brains assumes that the room is normal and the people must, therefore, be changing sizes, not the room.

Both the male and the female in the room also tend to be appearing to be inappropriately small or can be seen to be large because of the human visual system. This can be explained by the virtual cortex that exists within the brain. It tends to be developing a sense of size constancy. Whenever one looks at something from a distance, the human brain visual system is normally assessing both the size of the object and also the distance at which it is located. Whenever we look at things, it normally projects images onto the part the eye that is known as the retina. This kind of image is normally called the retinal image. In most cases, if something is: placed far away it normally projects smaller images onto the retina, when objects are placed closer, the retina will project the larger images (Shi et al. 2015).

The visual system used in the experiments also takes into account how far the object could be placed. In case the distance and the retinal size objects are not analyzed, then objects are likely to appear in size widely and also inappropriately. This happens as they either move closer or further away. In light of this, the experiment revealed that if you have two retinal images that are considered to be of the same size, but y the visual system thinks that one of these objects is further away. In this case, one is likely to perceive that further objects to be bigger than these that are placed closer (Nityananda et al. 2016).

Honi phenomenon

The other studies that have used the concept of Ames room are the Honi phenomenon. This is selective perceptual distortion that is causing married people to perceive less size distortion of their spouse than a stranger in an Ames room. The effect n this type of experiment has been related to the strength of love, trust and liking of the particular spouse whose being viewed. The experiment also revealed that women who were also high positive in these areas tend o be perceiving stranger’s s being more distorted tan their spouses. However, the size judgment by theme did not seem to be influenced by the strength of their feelings towards their spouse (Shi et al. 2015).

One of the critics and weakness that can be attributed to this kind of experiment is the aspect of perception. Illusions tend to demonstrate that the visual system can sometimes be inaccurate. The inaccuracies should, however, not arise if the aspects of perception are direct and also relies on invariant and also ambiguous properties of the optical array. It is also believed that most of the experiments that are done are normally carried using illusions artificial situations, and as such, they have no clear relationship with the real world. Also, the explanation of the differences in the sizes of the images as perceived on the experiment seems not to be convincing enough. Also, it does not accurately account for the experimental evidence in this area. As such, it can be said that the failure to accurately account for the fact that we do not in most cases perceived the world accurately still send to be one f the major weakness to the Ames room experiment (Glennerster et al. 2003).


From the experiment, it can be said that majority of people will be interpreting situations based on assumptions. The assumption here was purely based on the room she and also the fact that rooms looks normal. As attributed by the modern constructivists, the stimuli that we receive from the general environment are usually ambiguous, and as such, they have no clear-cut interpretation. As such, it can be said that the observer has to use the top-down process so as to make sense of sensory input.

The future of the Ames room experiment is going to be great. The Ames room principle can be used on the TV and also in the movie productions. This can be instrumental in creating special effects. This is especially when it is considred important to show characters in giant size next to actors that are small size. Also, the concept is going to help in the psychology and analysis of human being. This is going to be influenced into counseling filed.


Shi, J., Tao, X., Xu, L., & Jia, J. (2015). Break ames room illusion: depth from general single images. ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG), 34(6), 225.

Gehringer, W. L., & Engel, E. (1986). Effect of ecological viewing conditions on the Ames' distorted room illusion.

Glennerster, A., Gilson, S. J., Tcheang, L., & Parker, A. J. (2003). Perception of size in a ‘dynamic Ames room’. Journal of Vision, 3(9), 490.

Nityananda, V., Bissianna, G., Tarawneh, G., & Read, J. (2016). Small or far away? Size and distance perception in the praying mantis. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 371(1697), 20150262.

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