Poster Title

Covington's Gravity Hill

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Psychology

Minor

Studio Arts

Institution

Northern Kentucky University

Department

Department of Psychological Science

Abstract

Covington, Kentucky is home to Gravity Hill, a rare naturally occurring optical illusion in which a hill seems to defy gravity. People from all over the world have come to this location to place their car into neutral gear and it appears to roll up a hill. The purpose of this research project was to investigate the causes of this illusion. Previous research on optical illusions suggests that certain visual cues and height from the eye (i.e., eye height) influence slope perception. One hundred participants viewed images of Gravity Hill as well as other non-illusionary hills taken from different viewing heights (i.e., ground level, eye height and above eye height). The present study had two hypotheses: 1) Gravity Hill would be perceived as sloping upward as compared to other similar sloping hills. This hypothesis was supported. Gravity Hill was perceived as sloping upward at 6.8° significantly steeper as compared to other hills with a similar slope angle [F(2, 98) = 35.77, p F(2,198) = 9.00, p < .01, ηp2 = .083]. Future research will investigate how surrounding slope angles at the end of Gravity Hill may influence the perception of the entire slope angle. The global impact of this research is to understand what factors influence perception of slope angles.

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Covington's Gravity Hill

Covington, Kentucky is home to Gravity Hill, a rare naturally occurring optical illusion in which a hill seems to defy gravity. People from all over the world have come to this location to place their car into neutral gear and it appears to roll up a hill. The purpose of this research project was to investigate the causes of this illusion. Previous research on optical illusions suggests that certain visual cues and height from the eye (i.e., eye height) influence slope perception. One hundred participants viewed images of Gravity Hill as well as other non-illusionary hills taken from different viewing heights (i.e., ground level, eye height and above eye height). The present study had two hypotheses: 1) Gravity Hill would be perceived as sloping upward as compared to other similar sloping hills. This hypothesis was supported. Gravity Hill was perceived as sloping upward at 6.8° significantly steeper as compared to other hills with a similar slope angle [F(2, 98) = 35.77, p F(2,198) = 9.00, p < .01, ηp2 = .083]. Future research will investigate how surrounding slope angles at the end of Gravity Hill may influence the perception of the entire slope angle. The global impact of this research is to understand what factors influence perception of slope angles.