The style of eyeglasses above, called “chicken eyes”, stole glances at fashion shows this year. But while the spectacles may look good, you probably wouldn’t really want to have the eyes — or the brain — of a chicken.
The picture on the left is a hill, and the picture on the right is a crater. Right?
(Click on the magnifying glass to make the pictures bigger.)
You’ve probably figured out already that they’re both the same picture, one just reversed. If you want to test it, go ahead and stand on your head, or turn your computer monitor upside down.
Light in the real world usually comes from above: from the sun, or from the lamp on your ceiling. So we assume that’s true for the image, too. The shadows and light help us interpret the picture as a crater or a hill. If you try hard, you might be able to override the ‘natural’ interpretation by imagining the light coming from underneath and suddenly the hill will appear a crater and the crater a hill. But animals are “hard-wired” to believe the light comes from above, and no matter how much you try to train them otherwise, that doesn’t change.
For a chicken, the crater will always stay a crater. Scientists at the Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany found out that humans are different: our brains are more flexible than chickens’, and we can learn to reverse our elemental assumptions about what we see. Dr. Marc Ernst has looked at that picture of a crater (or a hill?) thousands of times and if you click below, he tell you what exactly you’re seeing.
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