Figure-Ground Perception: An Illustration of the World

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Visual perception, an interesting and popular research focus of psychology, is the function of the eyes and brain working together to interpret our surroundings. Take this picture for example: some people may see a vase, while others may see two faces. Perhaps if you look at it long enough you will see both. This phenomenon relates to the theory of figure-ground organization. Figure-ground organization is one principle of Gesalt's theories of perceptual organization. This concept explains that when we look at an object we do not just look at the object; instead, we see the object in relation to its background. This explains why reversible figure-ground images, like the one above, can change in our mind as we look at it.
I find perception to be a very interesting topic because it gives a biological example of how differently everyone interprets information. Reversible images in general are a classic illustration of how every aspect of life can have more than one dimension, more than one point of view. Although figure-ground perception deals specifically with sensory information, in many ways it represents how people all have different perceptions of the world--different ideas, opinions and views--and that these can all change over time.


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I liked how you started out with a very narrow topic, and expanded on it as you wrote to give the reader a sense of how it relates to a bigger picture. I think it would be interesting to see a good example of an image that involves figure-ground organization that people might come across and take for granted in their every-day lives!

This is a very interesting topic and fun topic that you picked. When we talked about visual perception in discussion, everyone had a good time look at all of these different visual perceptions so its definitely an interesting topic. I think that when people look at the same picture the majority of the people will notice the same thing, like i noticed the vase at first.

I really like the connection made with how perception works in ideas and opinions. It might not be exactly the same mechanism, but the idea of seeing (not literally necessarily) different is definitely consistent in both. Going with the comment above that said the majority of people will notice the same thing, I think it would have been interesting to poll the class and see how many saw the vase first and how many saw the faces first.

I think the way you tie together reversible images and different perspectives of life really interesting. I can tell you put a good amount of thought into this.

I like this topic you chose and how you ended your post saying that people can view different things depending on their different perceptions or experiences in the world. Also like you said, people will first see the vase or the two faces but after staring at it a little longer both will appear back and forth.

I enjoyed your article. I think the whole concept of perception is extremely fascinating. It is interesting to see what different people can make out of images, similar to that one. It shows how individuals can think differently and how we can train our brains to think a particular way.

I really like this blog! It took me several times to look at the picture and see both the faces and the vase! Great work and nice topic!

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This page contains a single entry by hasle027 published on February 19, 2012 10:39 PM.

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