Reversible Figure:

A reversible figure is a visual pattern or design that can be perceived in more than one way, allowing for alternate interpretations or perspectives to be seen. It is an optical illusion that tricks the human brain into perceiving different images, shapes, or objects depending on how one focuses their attention or perspective.

Key Characteristics:

  • Multistable Perception: Reversible figures exhibit multistable perception, which means that multiple interpretations or perspectives can coexist and shift without a fixed or definitive visual representation.
  • Illusory Reversal: Illusory reversal occurs when the perception of a reversible figure spontaneously changes from one interpretation to another, often without any external influence.
  • Bi-stable Figures: A subtype of reversible figures, bi-stable figures specifically involve two main perceptual interpretations that continuously alternate.

Examples of Reversible Figures:

– The Necker Cube, where the square pattern can be interpreted as facing upward or downward.

– The Rubin’s Vase illusion, where the contour of a vase can be perceived as two faces in profile.

– The Spinning Dancer, which appears to rotate in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions.

– The Duck-Rabbit illusion, where an image can be perceived as either a duck or a rabbit.

Psychological Significance:

Reversible figures have intrigued psychologists and neuroscientists for their ability to showcase the flexibility, interpretive nature, and subjective experience involved in visual perception. These figures contribute to the understanding of cognitive processes, such as attention, perception, and the role of the brain in forming and altering visual representations.