Effects of Lighting and Distraction on the Black Hole Illusion in Visual Approaches

Two possible causes of the black hole illusion (BHI), lighting and distraction, were examined using distance estimations in nonpilots. In a computer-simulated cockpit environment, participants estimated distance across 2 lighting conditions and 3 levels of distraction. Participants significantly underestimated distance at night and overestimated distance during the day (p = .004). An interaction between lighting and distance from runway (p = .040) was suggestive of the BHI. Current findings help support the idea that lighting plays a significant role in the accuracy of distance estimation, possibly contributing to the BHI, and that BHI might result from a disruption of optic flow.


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  • Accession Number: 01497160
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 17 2013 3:00PM