Perceptual illusions and ambiguous
figures were of special interest to the Gestaltists. Artists
have also been fascinated by these perceptual phenomenon. Perceptual
illusions and ambiguous figures are of special interest in the
investigation of thinking because:
- illusions seem to indicate that our mind does
not always accurately represent the perceptual input. For the
Gestaltist, this suggested that the mind was "actively"
involved in interpreting the perceptual input rather than
passively recording the input.
- ambiguous figures exemplify the fact that sometimes the
same perceptual input can lead to very different representations.
Again, the Gestaltist took this as suggesting that the mind was
actively involved in interpreting the input.
- what I will call completion
figures are figures which the mind rather unambiguously interprets
in a particular way despite the fact that the input is incomplete
relative to what is typically "seen"
What follows are a variety of
examples of these phenomena which you can select and explore.