looking at a scene or graphic, all humans have the natural and
subconscious ability to extrapolate beyond what is visible. In
other words, when information is hidden or assumed to be hidden,
humans make it up in their minds.
This ability to mentally extrapolate beyond the known is essential
to normal living. We regularly make quick guesses with limited
information. When you step on a sturdy looking building step,
you assume it will hold your weight. When you pull a book from
the library shelf, you assume the pages are filled with words.
When your waitress brings you a steaming coffee mug, you assume
it is filled with a hot liquid.
In many cases this extrapolation is accurate, or at least
a fair estimate of reality. If your dog is standing on the other
side of the open doorway, half hidden by the wall, you correctly
assume that an entire dog exists. As the dog steps foreword into
the room, your assumption is proven correct. When the waitress
puts down your steaming coffee mug, you are far from surprised
to see it's filled with the hot coffee you ordered. Humans would
be a dim species if we couldn't make these kinds elemental deductions.
In many cases, however, the extrapolations are wrong. Though
we perceive them to be real, the are nothing more than make believe.
Many of these bogus extrapolations involving the viewer subconsciously
seeing what he wants to see or expects to see. Sometimes these
errors in thought are corrected ("Oh, the cup is filled
with tea, not the coffee I asked for"). Often times the
error in extrapolation is never corrected, and the misperception
exists throughout the person's life.
The following are examples of correct and incorrect perceptions
based on extrapolating beyond what is seen.
Though the dogs block the view, we assume there is snow behind
them like the snow we see surrounding them.
Though the overlapping prevents us from knowing, most will
assume the above picture shows whole playing cards. I assume
the cards are rectangular and whole.
The below says "I Love You" multiple times:
Now read the same printed text below with the ruler removed:
In the above, most perceive a cube behind the three diagonal
With the bands removed, we perceive something different.
Many perceive a white triangle here, even though there isn't
Is it three bars or a horse shoe?
With this visual illusion, the viewer forms a perception about
the whole from looking at just one end. When she looks at the
rest of the graphic she realizes her extrapolation, or initial
perception of the whole, was wrong. Unlike the other pictures
in this chapter, there is no missing information. All of the
information is there for the eyes to see, but the viewer forms
her perception as if information is hidden.
(c) david rudd cycleback, cycleback.com
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