The Mystery of The Moon Illusion: Exploring Size Perception

Hardcover | June 15, 2002

byHelen Ross, Cornelis Plug

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For thousands of years, one scientific puzzle has fascinated and perplexed the greatest philosophers, mathematicians, physicists, and psychologists - why do the moon and sun appear so much larger on the horizon than when high up in the sky? Now, two leading psychologists have provided acompelling account of this fascinating illusion. Taking us through the history, the characters involved, the attempts made to explain the illusion, through to modern day studies of visual perception, the book is the most comprehensive account of this puzzle so far. This is a work which will remain,for some time to come, the definitive book on a mystery that has fascinated and tested the greatest minds throughout the ages. Accessibly written, it will appeal to readers of popular science, along with those within the disciplines of psychology, mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy, from undergraduate upwards.

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For thousands of years, one scientific puzzle has fascinated and perplexed the greatest philosophers, mathematicians, physicists, and psychologists - why do the moon and sun appear so much larger on the horizon than when high up in the sky? Now, two leading psychologists have provided acompelling account of this fascinating illusion. T...

Helen Ross is an Honorary lecturer in Psychology, University of Stirling. Cornelis Plug is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of South Africa.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9.45 × 6.61 × 0.83 inPublished:June 15, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019850862X

ISBN - 13:9780198508625

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Richard GregoryPreface1. The celestial illusions2. The real sizes of the moon and sun3. Perceiving size4. Measuring the moon illusion5. Atmospheric refraction6. Aerial perspectives7. In the eye of the beholder8. The vault of the heavens9. So near and yet so far10. Sizing up the moon11. The angle of regard12. A question of balance13. Conclusions and conundrumsEpilogueAppendix: Summary of scientific developments relating to the moon illusion

Editorial Reviews

`This scholarly book explores a famous illusion of visual space, that has been discussed by philosophers and scientists through millennia of time. Why does the moon look larger low on the horizon than high in the sky? Is this physics, physiology, psychology - or what? There have been perhaps ahundred explanations and no one is quite certain even now - though it does tell us more of mind than matter.This is the record of a journey with expert commentary. The experts on perception will find their pet ideas, at least in embryo form, in antique sources; philosophers will be teased by conflicts of appearance and reality; astronomers will find that they are part of the Universe after all. It is thedetails that make this book fascinating, as they paint a picture of how we see - and get the Heavens wrong, with our eyes trained for Earthly things.'Richard L. Gregory CBE FRS, Professor of Psychology, University of Bristol