Ebbinghaus illusion overestimation (Zhu, 2020)

STUDY TITLE: A genome-wide association study reveals a substantial genetic basis underlying the Ebbinghaus illusion

SUMMARY: Identification of 70 genetics variants associated with Ebbinghaus illusion overestimation.

OVERVIEW: Our brain and eyes work together to process visual information about our surroundings. Information, such as the size of faraway objects, is interpreted by the brain by analyzing other visual cues such as the sizes of known objects next to it. However, sometimes the brain’s interpretation may be incorrect which can result in optical illusions. One such optical illusion is known as the Ebbinghaus illusion. When a circle is surrounded by other circles, it may appear larger or smaller than its real size depending on the sizes of the surrounding circles. Individual people are affected by the Ebbinghaus illusion to a varying degree. To identify the impact of genetics on a person’s perception of the Ebbinghaus illusion, this study examined the genomes of nearly 3,000 individuals of Asian ancestry and found 70 variants that are associated with overestimating of the size of the central circle. Previous studies have shown that individuals affected by various mental disorders tend to perceive the Ebbinghaus illusion to a lesser degree.

DID YOU KNOW? It appears that individuals affected by schizophrenia may be more “resistant” to optical illusions. Schizophrenia can cause hallucinations and reduce the ability to concentrate which affects how the brain processes and interprets information. [SOURCE]

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WEEKLY UPDATE: October 2, 2020

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