Do Gender Influence the Way People View Optical Illusions?

Topics: Visual perception, Illusion, Depth perception Pages: 2 (413 words) Published: February 24, 2002
Does gender influence how people view optical illusions?

The brain takes cues from images received from the eyes to help it interpret what is being seen. Usually this is important for things like depth perception, but occasionally it leads us astray. The cues make us think we see something that isn't true, or isn't even there.

Light waves enter your eye and then enter photoreceptive cells on your retina. The image that forms on your retina is flat, but you see a world of shape, color, depth, and motion.
Retinal images are flat representations on a curved surface. Most of the time, we perceive an accurate world of depth, surfaces and objects.
Retinal images are open to more than one interpretation. For all retinal images, there are a large variety of possible three-dimensional structures that can be seen. We usually see the correct image, but sometimes a mistake is made. This is when an illusion occurs.

The fact that we can see the correct three-dimensional information from a visually ambiguous (open to more than one interpretation) two-dimensional image means that some very powerful restraints must be put on our interpretations of two-dimensional images.

These restraints must also account for many illusions. Illusions are a tool for revealing restraints that mediate vision and perception. In some cases, illusions take place because the restraints for interpreting an image are ambiguous. Your visual system can interpret the image in more than one way. Even though the image on your retina remains constant, you don't see an odd mixture of the two images. Normally, this does not happen because your visual system has developed many different ways to resolve ambiguity. Visual perception is essentially an ambiguity-solving process. This process is called "inverse optics."

The visual system is also highly adaptive. It should be understood that both evolution and learning contribute to visual capabilities.
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