Visual Illusions and Perception of Classical Architecture



We carried out psychophysical experiments to study perception mechanisms of images that are elements of building projections in ancient and classical architecture. The curvature of isolated lines and lines superimposed on a fan picture (Wundt-Hering illusion), as well as the orientation of lines in the presence of distractors with varying inclination and separation (tilt illusion) were estimated. We used the methods of constant stimuli and the forced choice procedure. The experiments were carried out on three subjects with a large number of presentations of stimuli, which made it possible to evaluate the statistical significance of the obtained dependences. The values of distortions in the illusion of Wundt-Hering (WH) and in the tilt illusion were determined. It is shown that the curvature of single lines without fan lines is estimated adequately. The analysis of the results led to the conclusion that corrections of the orientation and curvature of elements in classical architecture compensate for the distortions of visual perception. At the same time, the curvature of some elements may be due to the aesthetics of perception.

General Information

Keywords: discrimination of orientation, the tilt illusion, the Wundt-Hering illusion, curvature, classical architecture, beauty, aesthetics, entasis

Journal rubric: Psychology of Perception

Article type: scientific article


Funding. This study was supported by the State Program GP-47 "Scientific and Technological Development of the Russian Federation "(2019-2030), theme 0134-2019-0006.

Acknowledgements. The authors are grateful in conducting the experiments to the employees of the laboratory of information technologies and mathematical modeling of I.P. Pavlov Institute of physiology RAS.

Received: 14.07.2022


For citation: Bondarko V.M., Solnushkin S.D., Chikhman V.N. Visual Illusions and Perception of Classical Architecture. Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), 2023. Vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 69–85. DOI: 10.17759/exppsy.2023160305. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Valeria M. Bondarko, Doctor of Biology, Leading Research Associate, Laboratory of physiology of vision, Pavlov Institute of Physiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St.Petersburg, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Sergei D. Solnushkin, Senior Research Associate, Laboratory of Informational Technologies and Mathematical Modeling, Pavlov Institute of Physiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St.Petersburg, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Valerii N. Chikhman, PhD in Engineering, Senior Research Associate, Head of Laboratory of Informational Technologies and Mathematical Modeling, Pavlov Psychological Institute of Russian Academy of Science, St.Petersburg, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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