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Impact Factor:0.906
Source:2014 Journal Citation Reports® (Thomson Reuters, 2015)

On the Origin and Status of the “El Greco Fallacy”

  1. Chaz Firestone
    1. Department of Psychology, Yale University, Box 208205, New Haven, CT 06520-8205, USA
  1. e-mail: chaz.firestone{at}yale.edu


The oddly elongated forms painted by the Spanish Renaissance artist El Greco are popularly but incorrectly attributed to astigmatism. The particular reason this explanation fails has long offered a deep lesson for perceptual psychology, even motivating recent research. However, the details and historical origins of this lesson—often called the “El Greco fallacy”— have been obscured over many retellings, leading to an incomplete and even inaccurate understanding of its provenance and status. This note corrects the record, which is richer, subtler, and more interesting than recent accounts would suggest.

  • Received March 14, 2013.
  • Revision received March 28, 2013.
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