Effect of field of view on the Levitation Illusion

TitleEffect of field of view on the Levitation Illusion
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsJenkin, H. L., J. E. Zacher, M. R. Jenkin, C. M. Oman, and L. R. Harris
JournalJournal of Vestibular Research
MVL Report Number07.14
KeywordsVisual orientation, self tilt, perceived orientation, gravitational vertical

Supine subjects inside a furnished room in which both they and the room are pitched 90° backwards may experience themselves and the room as upright relative to gravity. This effect is known as the levitation illusion because observers report that their arms feel weightless when extended, and objects hanging in the room seem to “levitate”. This illusion is an extreme example of a visually induced illusion of static tilt. Visually induced tilt illusions are commonly experienced in wide-screen movie theatres, flight simulators, and immersive virtual reality systems. For technical reasons an observer’s field of view is often constrained in these environments. No studies have documented the effect of field-of-view (FOV) restriction on the incidence of the levitation illusion. By concurrently manipulating both the FOV and observer position within the room, it was found that levitation illusion incidence depends not on the field of view per se but rather on the items visible within a scene.