Duck or Rabbit Illusion – Psychologists believe what you see says a lot about you


Rabbit or duck, or duck or rabbit – or neither
of the two – what do you see? That’s the question taking social media by storm as debate rages
about what the image really is – despite it being drawn more than 100 years ago. The image
is an illusion which can tell a lot about how a person’s brain works. Depending on whether
an observer sees a duck or a rabbit first and how fast it sees the other is an indicator
of how creative you are, and how fast your brain works. Although it first appeared in a German magazine
about 1892, it was later made famous by U.S. psychologist Joseph Jastrow in 1899. Jastrow
used the illusion to make the point that we ‘see’ with our brains as well as our eyes.
The research suggested that more creative people were able to switch between images
of the two animals more quickly than other people. Participants who found it very easy
to flip between rabbit and duck came up with an average of almost five novel uses for an
everyday item. Those who couldn’t flip between rabbit and duck at all came up with less than
two novel uses. This suggests that the ease with which you
can flip representations is a clue to how creative you are. The moment when you flip
between duck and rabbit is like a small flash of creative insight. It’s when you notice
the world can be seen in a different way. Highly creative people often display this
talent for finding new uses for an existing object or by making connections between two
previously unconnected ideas or things. However, the theory linking one’s creativity
level and one’s ability to switch between the rabbit or duck might not be all that legitimate.
A study published by the University College London stated that the figure “is very biased
towards the duck.” It found there were nearly two and a half times as many duck responses
as rabbit responses. “Analysing the reasons for that are not
easy given the present data, but one possibility is that most individuals, regardless of handedness,
tend to scan from left to right,” the study reads. It notes also that while “the duck
can be seen as very many different types of bird, the rabbit is far more restricted.”
The study then says that the angle at which one views the image is also noteworthy. When testing children at different times of
the year, the results change. And according to an earlier Mathworld article, “Children
tested on Easter Sunday are more likely to see the figure as a rabbit, whereas when tested
on a Sunday in October, they tend to see it as a duck.” But for social media users, reactions range
from surprise, amazement and frustration, to ridicule of the image, with posts of the
illusion by popular pages attracting hundreds of comments and thousands of ‘likes’. So what
do you see?

16 thoughts on “Duck or Rabbit Illusion – Psychologists believe what you see says a lot about you

  1. Suckers look at the mouth and nose on the rabbit part that is the thing that gives it AWay so it's as rabbit

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