Title: The moon illusion in children's drawings

Authors: Helen E. Ross, Adele Cowie

Addresses: Department of Psychology, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, Scotland, UK. ' 12 New Road, Stirling FK7 8LW, Scotland, UK

Abstract: The full moon subtends an angle of 0.5° and occupies about 1/100th of the landscape in a standard photograph. Artists usually draw the moon much larger than this, particularly when low on the horizon. The relatively large appearance near the horizon is known as the moon illusion. We tested children aged 4-12 years and adults aged about 21 years, asking them to draw the apparent size of the moon on a photocopy of a landscape, both near the horizon and high in the sky. The mean ratio of the low to high moons was 1.57, and the size of the illusion did not vary significantly with age. The illusion, like size-constancy in the near distance, is well established by age 4.

Keywords: moon illusion; children; drawings; photographs; artists; horizon; adults; apparent size; age; size constancy; moon size.

DOI: 10.1504/IJART.2010.032568

International Journal of Arts and Technology, 2010 Vol.3 No.2/3, pp.275 - 287

Published online: 07 Apr 2010 *

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