Moon illusion simulated in complete darkness: Planetarium experiment reexamined
In 1962, Kaufman and Rock reported that the moon illusion did not occur in the darkness of a planetarium or in a completely dark room. The present study reexamined their findings. Two pairs of light points, separated by 3.50 , were presented on the dome screen of a planetarium. Subjects compared the distance between the two light points presented in the horizontal direc- tion with the distance between the two light points at the zenith. Three illumination conditions were used: The inside ofthe planetarium was completely dark, was lighted, or was projected with the silhouette of a city under a starry sky. The effect of eye elevation on the illusion was also examined. Contrary to Kaufman and Rock's results, a size discrepancy comparable to the moon illusion was obtained in the horizon-and-stars condition and even in the complete-darkness con- dition. Little or no illusion was obtained in the lighted-room condition. The results also showed that eye elevation affected the magnitude of the illusion.