The Sander illusion and the horizontal-vertical (H-V) illusion are both size and orientation geometric-optical illusions. The Sander geometric figures can be simply regarded as being made up of surrounding frames and inner targeted line segments. Similarly, H-V illusory geometric figures are made up of the targeted line segments. The role of surrounding frames and inner targeted line segments in the perception and cognition of geometric-optical illusions is not well understood.
The time course of event-related potentials (ERP) and the ERP-based standardized low-resolution electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA) source localization were investigated in the Sander illusion and the H-V illusion, which had the same length as the targeted line segments, respectively. The P1, N1, P2, N2 and P3 components of the ERP were focused and measured.
The ERP results demonstrated that the existence of surrounding frames in the Sander illusions-induced significant alterations in the P1, N1, P2, N2 and P3 components, compared with the H-V illusion without surrounding frames. In the Sander illusion, different tilted line segments and surrounding frames resulted in significant differences in the P2, N2 and P3 components. The sLORETA results also demonstrated brain activities of source localization as a function of the surrounding frames and the tilted inner line segments.
These findings implicate that the perceptual and cognitive processes of the geometric-optical illusions are correlated to the surrounding frames/background, as well as the orientation/direction of inner targeted line segments in geometric figures.