Why Barbie feels heavier than Ken: The influence of size-based expectancies and social cues on the illusory perception of weight

  title={Why Barbie feels heavier than Ken: The influence of size-based expectancies and social cues on the illusory perception of weight},
  author={Anton J. M. Dijker},
  • A. Dijker
  • Published 1 March 2008
  • Psychology
  • Cognition

Size Matters: A Single Representation Underlies Our Perceptions of Heaviness in the Size-Weight Illusion

It is suggested that the authors' perceptual and sensorimotor representations are not only functionally independent from one another, but that the perceptual system represents a more single, simple size-weight relationship which appears to drive the SWI itself.

The integration of size and weight cues for perception and action: evidence for a weight–size illusion

Both size and weight perceptions are biased by prior experience, and a processing model underlying the size–weight cue integration for the perceptual and motor system is presented.

The weight of expectation: Implicit, rather than explicit, prior expectations drive the size–weight illusion

Surprisingly, participant's perceptions matched, rather than contrasted with, their explicit expectations such that, even though they expected the golf ball to outweigh the beach ball they perceived the Golf ball as feeling heavier than the beach Ball, suggesting that contrasting expectations of heaviness are not necessary to experience weight illusions.

Examining Whether Semantic Cues Can Affect Felt Heaviness When Lifting Novel Objects

It is found that semantic cues affect perception or action enough to induce a novel weight illusion, and the findings suggest that the explicit expectations created by the labels did not dominate the implicit expectationscreated by the equal sizes of the objects, highlighting the segregated nature of cognitive expectations and their variable influences on perception and action.

The size-weight illusion comes along with improved weight discrimination

Test the models’ prediction that weight discrimination of equal-size objects is better in lifting conditions which are prone to the size-weight illusion as compared to conditions lacking (the essentially uninformative) size information and found that JNDs were lower inlifting conditions in which size information was available.

The role of expectancies in the size-weight illusion: A review of theoretical and empirical arguments and a new explanation

  • A. Dijker
  • Psychology
    Psychonomic bulletin & review
  • 2014
The new account explains why the illusion is associated with the repeated generation of inappropriate lifting forces, as well as why it depends on continuous visual exposure to size cues, appears at an early age, and is cognitively impenetrable.

Contribution of surface material and size to the expected versus the perceived weight of objects

The results support the hypothesis that perceived weight may depend on implicit, rather than explicit, weight expectations, and a variant of the random conjoint measurement paradigm was used to obtain subjective interval scales of the contributions of surface material and size to the expected and the perceived weight.

Influence of visually perceived shape and brightness on perceived size, expected weight, and perceived weight of 3D objects

A systematic comparison between perceived size, expected weight, and perceived weight showed that the visual shape–weight and brightness–weight illusions are partially inconsistent with the hypothesis that perceived weight results from the contrast between actual and expected weight.

The number–weight illusion

When objects are manually lifted to compare their weight, then smaller objects are judged to be heavier than larger objects of the same physical weights: the classical size–weight illusion (Gregory,

Low-level sensory processes play a more crucial role than high-level cognitive ones in the size-weight illusion

The results revealed that the strength of the SWI diminished when participants wore the gloves but did not change as cognitive load increased on the dual-task, suggesting that the illusion is more influenced by bottom-up sensory than top-down cognitive processes.



Weight perception and the haptic size-weight illusion are functions of the inertia tensor.

  • E. AmazeenM. Turvey
  • Psychology
    Journal of experimental psychology. Human perception and performance
  • 1996
It is revealed that size's influence on weight perception depends on specific patterns of the eigenvalues of the inertia tensor, which depend on stimulus invariants, not inference.

Opposite perceptual and sensorimotor responses to a size-weight illusion.

The relationship between sensorimotor and perceptual responses to a SWI in which the smaller of the two target objects in fact weighed slightly less than the larger object is explored, demonstrating that the sensorimotors utilize distinctly different mechanisms for determining object mass.

The Golf-Ball Illusion: Evidence for Top-down Processing in Weight Perception

Within the group of golfers, those who expected the weights of the two ball types to be the most discrepant prior to lifting tended to report the strongest illusions subsequent to lifting, suggesting that there is a top-down component to weight perception that is based on experience with specific objects.

Experimental demonstration of the sensory basis of the size-weight illusion

The aim of the experiments reported here was to establish whether the size-weight illusion was sensorial or was caused directly by an expectancy, and it was concluded that the illusion was of sensory origin.

The influence of perceived suffering and vulnerability on the experience of pity

Pity is viewed as a function of two classes of perceived stimulus features and their interaction: the extent to which a person (when still healthy and nonsuffering) is perceived as vulnerable to

Growth-produced Changes in Body Shape and Size As Determinants of Perceived Age and Adult Caregiving.

ALLEY, THOMAS R. Growth-produced Changes in Body Shape and Size as Determinants of Perceived Age and Adult Caregiving. CHILD DEVELOPMENT, 1983, 54, 241-248. The ethological hypothesis that "parental"

Perceptions of effort and heaviness during fatigue and during the size-weight illusion.

The hypothesis that one reason force and effort perceptions are distinct is to inform an individual of impaired motor function when muscular force lags effort is explored and predicts that effort and force perceptions will dissociate when motor function is impaired by fatigue but not during the size-weight illusion.

Perceiving character in faces: the impact of age-related craniofacial changes on social perception.

It is hypothesized that adults with immature facial qualities are perceived to have childlike psychological attributes and the research reviewed provides strong support for this prediction.

What do women want? Facialmetric assessment of multiple motives in the perception of male facial physical attractiveness.

Three quasi-experiments demonstrated that men who possessed the neotenous features of large eyes, the mature features of prominent cheekbones and a large chin, the expressive feature of a big smile, and high-status clothing were seen as more attractive than other men.

When is a Weight not Illusory?

  • H. Ross
  • Psychology
    The Quarterly journal of experimental psychology
  • 1969
A central scaling process which enables a wide range of weights to be estimated, different ranges being selected according to the expected value of the weight, and changes in expected value could also allow for the operation of “weight-constancy” during changes in proprioceptive stimulation.