In the Brentano version of the Müller-Lyer illusion one part looks longer and the other looks shorter than it really is. We asked participants to make saccadic eye movements along these parts of the figure and between positions on the figure and a position outside the illusion. By showing that saccades from outside the figure are not influenced by the illusion, we demonstrate that the reason that saccades along the figure are influenced is that the incorrectly judged length is used to plan the amplitude of the saccade. This finding contradicts several current views on the use of visual information for action. We conclude that actions are influenced by visual illusions, but that such influences are only apparent if the action is guided by the attribute that is fooled by the illusion.

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Experimental Brain Research
Department of Neuroscience

de Grave, D.D.J, Smeets, J.B.J, & Brenner, E. (2006). Why are saccades influenced by the Brentano illusion?. Experimental Brain Research, 175(1), 177–182. doi:10.1007/s00221-006-0536-1