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Proffitt, D. R., Creem, S. H. & Zosh, W. (2001). Seeing mountains in mole hills: Geographical slant perception. Psychological Science, 12, 418-423.

When observers face directly toward the incline of a hill, their awareness of the slant of the hill is greatly overestimated, but motoric estimates are much more accurate. The present study examined whether similar results would be found when observers were allowed to view the side of a hill. Observers viewed the cross-sections of hills in real (Experiment 2) and virtual (Experiment 2) environments and estimated the inclines with verbal estimates, by adjusting the cross-section of a disk, and by adjusting a board with their unseen hand to match the inclines. We found that the results for cross-section viewing replicated those found when observers directly face the incline. Even though the angles of hills are directly evident when viewed from the side, slant perceptions are still grossly overestimated.

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