Effects of Imagery on Vernier Acuity under Conditions of Induced Depth

Catherine Craver-Lemley, Elizabethtown College
Martha E. Arterberry
Adam Reeves


Imagery interferes with visual acuity (the "Perky effect") when an image is close to a visual target and both the image and the acuity target are located in the same depth plane. Whether imagery-induced interference occurs when a mental image and a target are separated by induced depth was investigated. Participants projected an image in front of or behind a vernier acuity target on a frontal or back plane suggested by the panels of an outline cube. A drop in accuracy for the target was found when an image was projected in front of, but not behind, the target. Thus, induced depth can influence the Perky effect. By contrast, real lines interfered with the target regardless of perceived depth plane, which is inconsistent with the hypothesis that imagery and perception are equivalent. Results support the hypothesis that images interfere with perception only when the participant must see through an image to obtain information specifying the visual target.