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A specially constructed room in which all the visible features have been distorted to make the room appear rectangular from one specific point of observation. In particular, the back wall of the room appears perpendicular to the line of sight, with left and right corners appearing equidistant to the observer, although in reality one corner is much further away. To an observer looking into the room, people of identical heights standing one in each corner of the room appear of clearly different height. The person standing in the far away corner does indeed produce a smaller retinal image, but since the observer believes that they are at the same distance, the person standing closer 'must be larger'. The Ames room demonstrates how perceived distance influences perceived size. Syn. Ames distorted room. See moon illusion; depth perception.