Duck Or Rabbit? 100-Year-Old Optical Illusion Gauges Creativity And Brain Speed

100-year-old optical illusion

A 100-year-old optical illusion is breaking the internet. The duck or rabbit optical illusion that appeared in a newspaper around 1899 is causing folks in the modern world to get into heated debates about which animal appears to the naked eye.

Although most people can ultimately look at the optical illusion and see both a duck and a rabbit, how quickly the brain can alternate between both images is supposed to indicate how creative the viewer is.

American psychologist Joseph Jastrow used the duck or rabbit optical illusion to demonstrate how perception is not only determined by what the eye sees, but it’s also based upon how the brain processes the information. Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon that relates to how the eyes and ears process a stimulus. The brain instantly works to attach a pattern of something known, or that makes sense, where none necessarily exists.

The duck or rabbit optical illusion is a prime example of the pareidolia works. Typically, during psychological experiments undertaken to gauge how quickly and accurately the mind can adapt to a confusing or unknown stimulus, photos of animals, cloud formations, human faces, or common objects are used. When testing the same brain process using our sense of hearing, researchers use hidden messages in music or play music at varying speeds or in reverse, MSN reports.

Dr. Joseph Jastrow used the now-viral optical illusion to test how quickly participants could see one animal and then the next. The more quickly the research subjects could alternate between thinking the drawing depicted a duck but then were able to view the rabbit, the faster the person’s mind works, Jastrow’s results contend. The ability to switch back and forth between seeing one animal or the other also suggests the subject is highly creative, according to the psychologist.

Dr. Jastrow died at the age of 80 in 1944. He was nearly forgotten in the psychological world before he died but is now considered one of the first and most intriguing “pop psychologists,” according to Wonders and Marvels. He had removed himself from full-time academic work several decades before his death. For several years before he passed away, he had devoted himself to studying the psychology of Adolf Hitler.

Oddly, which animal the viewer sees first appears to change with the seasons. During October, most viewers of the 100-year-old optical illusion see the duck first. When the duck or rabbit drawing is presented during Easter time in the spring, most folks see the rabbit first.

The simple and antiquated drawing has captured the interest of social media users for several days. People all across the country are debating which animal they see and playfully arguing over their results just as we did when the “What color is the dress?” photo circulated last year. Earlier this year, the “Who is the mom” photo of two twin teen girls and their very youthful-looking mother nearly broke the internet as well.

The duck or rabbit drawing was published anonymously in the Fliegende Blatter, a German magazine. The caption beneath the drawing simply read, “Which animals are most like each other?”

Which animal do you see first, the duck or the rabbit? How quickly can you switch back and forth between the two animals when looking at the 100-year-old optical illusion?

The image was first published anonymously in a German magazine called Fliegende Blätter, with the caption “Which animals are most like each other?”

[Image via Flegende-Blatter/Wikimedia Commons]