Ambiguous Visual Illusion

What do you see?

Do you see a series of black shapes on a white back­ground, or do you see a white word on black back­ground? Try to see both, one at a time :-)

This image is an exam­ple of an ambigu­ous illu­sion — a pic­ture or object that requires per­cep­tu­al switch­ing between the alter­na­tive inter­pre­ta­tions of fig­ure and ground. Our visu­al sys­tem sim­pli­fies visu­al scenes into a fore­ground fig­ure that we focus on and a ground which is every­thing else and forms the back­ground. And although you may be able to switch the fig­ure and ground back and forth to see one image or the oth­er, your eyes will not let you see both images at the same time. Our visu­al per­cep­tion is cre­at­ed by our brain’s inter­pre­ta­tion in the cere­bral cor­tex of visu­al infor­ma­tion enter­ing through the visu­al path­way.

The word in white let­ters is LIFT.

More brain teas­er games:


  1. cluisa on March 31, 2009 at 11:12

    could­n’t see any­thing but back­ground even though i knew the word was lift because link brought be in at bot­tom.… let myself look a bit.… still bkg.… then by pick­ing up the bot­tom of the l was able to grab and eas­i­ly see the word

  2. Gary R on April 25, 2009 at 8:06

    Actu­al­ly, I can see both, and alter­nate between the two.

    Was actu­al­ly look­ing for the Old woman and young woman visu­al, that one I can see both and the Old woman and swith to the young woman. Would like to see more of this, Does any­one out there know where this site might be that has lots of visuals?

    Gary R

  3. Daniel on April 30, 2009 at 1:17

    a white word on a black background

  4. Dimwit on October 20, 2009 at 8:59

    I SEE


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SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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