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Let's Talk About Illusions


Miles

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*Disclaimer: This topic is not a debate... This is an open discussion of illusions.*



So, today for the first time in probably a month, I got on Facebook, just because. 

I was skimming through posts, and came upon something.  It was a post made by some radio station that someone had shared.  They said something along the lines of "Forget the Dress, which direction is this cat going?"  And I just shook my head.

You see, there's a difference between "the Dress" and this cat picture on the stairwell.  

The Dress was an illusion caused purely by color and lighting/shading.  This means that it is a real illusion.  Humans see lighting, shading, and colors differently because of the structures in their eyes called rods and cones.  So, light and color reception will indeed differ slightly from one person to another.  Additionally, names of colors are not innate in our minds; we learn the names of colors by someone showing us a color, and telling us "this is ."  Therefore, as an example, the perception of the color red may be the same between person A and person B, but person C may not see the same exact hue.  If persons A and B, hypothetically speaking, could look through person C's eyes at the color, but still have their own brain's interpret the color, they may say it is still red, but with a slightly higher (orange-ish) or lower (purple-ish) hue.  This difference in perception, when combined back with person C's own mind, adds another difference, that of name interpretation.  Even though person's A and B (when hypothetically viewing the color through person C's eyes but still with their own minds) would still interpret "red" as the name, person C may interpret the name as "orange" or "purple."  Thus, at the end of the day, the fact is that because people perceive hues differently, and also interpret the names of the colors differently, "the Dress" (regardless of the legitimate dress in real life) is a real illusion... because, all differences of any object and its color between perception and interpretation are actual differences.  Which means, all color perception and interpretation of any object causes a legitimate, real illusion.  The debate over "the Dress" is naive, because everyone was correct...

That is why all color/lighting/shading illusions are real illusions.

However, other subjects may contain false illusions and real illusions...

---

Now is where I will explain some definitions, and their relations.

Illusion: "a thing that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses."
Paradox: "a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory."

 

Real illusions involve valid differences in perception and interpretation, and therefore are the effect of a paradox.
False illusions involve invalid differences in perception and interpretation, and therefore are not the effect of a paradox.

---

The "never ending staircase" is a real illusion because it is caused by a paradox.  And again, "the Dress" is also a real illusion because the fact that humans can see different colors as having different hues, but yet everyone uses the same names of colors whilst interpreting the names differently, it is caused by a paradox.

---

So, why did I shake my head at the photograph of the cat on the stairs?

Let's take a look:

b4483598eb.jpg

 


This is an illusion, indeed, but it is a false illusion.  Perception and interpretation are invalid qualifiers for this simple problem.  Albeit the quality of the image is sub-par, it is still high enough for the necessary evidence to be apparent.  

Because this is an actual photograph of a cat on the stairwell, all that is needed is simple geometry to solve the problem.

Now, please excuse my poor MS Paint drawing abilities... but this is why the illusion is false:

09f31c4510.png

 

---

 

76d26a5ba5.png

 

---

 

5be994d353.png

 



If the cat were going upstairs, a right angle would not be made.  The stairs make a right angle to the camera lens' aim.  The cat is going downstairs.

In my drawings, compare the black lines I made on the stairs:

_|_
    |-

and
 
  _|_
-|

Compare them to the colored arrows, and the aim of the camera.  

If the cat were going up stairs, the angle of the stairs to the camera would be: _/_

But, a right angle is made.  This is why the black arrows are in that one picture; the stairs are showing their vertical to the camera's horizontal.  

---

Possible things to discuss:

How these examples may have changed (or reaffirmed) your understanding of illusions.

And/or...

Any instances where you have been subjected to an illusion, and decipher between one another what makes each of your instances a real or false illusion.

But don't let this limit you - if you have other relevant ideas for discussion on this, go ahead  :) 

~ Miles

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This depends on whether you interpret the part of the stairs that the camera shows as facing vertical or horizontal. I really don't see how angles play into this at all.

 

If the cat is going down, that means you're seeing the side surface of each stair, but not the top. If the cat is going up, that means you're seeing the top surface of each stair, and not the sides.

Edited by Admiral Regulus
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This depends on whether you interpret the part of the stairs that the camera shows as facing vertical or horizontal. I really don't see how angles play into this at all.

 

If the cat is going down, that means you're seeing the side surface of each stair, but not the top. If the cat is going up, that means you're seeing the top surface of each stair, and not the sides.

 

The cat's face aims at the camera directly.  

But, the biggest reason angles play a part; the camera aims directly at the stairs.  
7903cb836b.png

 

Look at the stairs in the cat pic, and look just at one step.  

It creates a right angle, and that means the part of the step the camera is facing is rectangular, like the top drawing above.  If the person shot the picture from the top of the stairs, the angle would be obtuse.

~ Miles

 

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It creates a right angle, and that means the part of the step the camera is facing is rectangular, like the top drawing above.  If the person shot the picture from the top of the stairs, the angle would be obtuse.

 

 

But that's not necessarily true. The angle is only determined by the stair's relative position to the camera. Since we can't determine where the camera is, we can't say that.

 

Case in point: you could rotate every object in the picture 180 degrees, and then up would be down and down would be up. In that case, the picture would still look the same. You have to first define a coordinate axis here, and that's where the problem arises. The "up" or "down" is just arbitrary.

Edited by Admiral Regulus
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But that's not necessarily true. The angle is only determined by the stair's relative position to the camera. Since we can't determine where the camera is, we can't say that.

 

Case in point: you could rotate every object in the picture 180 degrees, and then up would be down and down would be up. In that case, the picture would still look the same. You have to first define a coordinate axis here, and that's where the problem arises.

 

Keep in mind that the camera's position possibilities are limited.  

 

 

57924bfb2e.jpg

 

 

 

So, there's no problem in defining an axis because: 

 

The cat looks straight into the camera.  

 

 

f595d8e10b.jpg

 

 

 

It's not possible for the cat to being going up.

 

~ Miles

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But the cat *could* theoretically be staring into a camera that's positioned directly above the staircase. You're assuming that the camera's possibilities are limited; I'm not.

 

oaNy6VQ.png

 

Unlikely? Yes. But possible.

Edited by Admiral Regulus
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You can know for a fact that the cat is going down because of the way the steps of the stair are constructed (as if it was going the other way those "details" at the end of each step will make it dangerous).

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aK1gxBz1FtE

 

That cat thing was pretty good, though.  That messed with my mind a bit.  I thought the cat was going up, because the light portion at the top of the picture looked like the floor.  I.e. if the cat was going down, then it looked like if you were to walk up those stairs, you would hit a flat wall flush with the top of the stairs, as in a staircase leading nowhere.  But that's just how it looked to me.

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You can know for a fact that the cat is going down because of the way the steps of the stair are constructed (as if it was going the other way those "details" at the end of each step will make it dangerous).

 

The stairs in my house have those at the end of each step o.o

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The stairs in my house have those at the end of each step o.o

 

Yes, but they are like extensions of the "roof" of the step. making a shadow on the "wall" on the next step one level below.

The reason is to make a the steps larger so even tall people can climb the stairs without flexing their feets outwards like a duck.

 

If they were placed on the inverse mode (like short protuding walls at the end of each step), when you go down the stairs you may get one of your shoes/toes/hooves "stuck" and then falling just by the inertia of the rest of your body [that was the "dangerous" part].

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But the cat *could* theoretically be staring into a camera that's positioned directly above the staircase. You're assuming that the camera's possibilities are limited; I'm not.

 

img-3655601-1-oaNy6VQ.png

 

Unlikely? Yes. But possible.

 

:please: Firstly, looks like we've got Spidercat over here.

 

---

 

Secondly, allow this picture (yes, edited in ms paint) to show you why the camera cannot be on the ceiling:

 

c468826d64.jpg

 

Unless we're dealing with a demon possessed cat, I'm pretty sure this isn't very healthy. 

 

~ Miles

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@@Admiral Regulus,

I ask that you understand this is not in the debate pit.  Rather, this is meant to be an open discussion about illusions.  My OP was meant to set examples - primers, if I may.

faef99d968.jpg

 

The cat's head points forward, parallel to its body.

---

My topic is in the "general discussion" thread because I am differentiating between real and false illusions, and I am asking for people to think of other instances of illusions to differentiate.  

The debate of "the Dress" was initially because people were trying figure out the color of the actual dress... but retrospectively, I explained why the color of the actual dress was not relevant to the original picture and the debate of the colors in the picture.  This is because the hue of the colors in the picture were perceived and interpreted differently, and anyone's perception and interpretation is quite frankly, valid.  That is because of the biological differences in our eyes altering perception, and because of how our brain interprets the names of the hues differently as well.  "The Dress" (specifically the picture itself, and not the actual dress) was a real illusion because of those differences in perception and interpretation causing a paradoxical omni-validity for everyone.  

---

This cat on the stairwell, however, as I explained before, is undoubtedly a false illusion.  The evidence necessary is fully apparent in the photograph.  Once you understand the geometry/trigonometry of the cat, the stairs, and the camera, you will see that there is no paradox, and that only one answer is valid.  That is why it is a false illusion.

~ Miles

P.S.

Anyone know of some other possible illusions to discuss?

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I guess it's similar to the dress one, but the checker shadow illusion always bothers me ^^;

 

 

Grey_square_optical_illusion.PNG

 

 

Squares A and B are the same color...

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I guess it's similar to the dress one, but the checker shadow illusion always bothers me ^^;

 

 

Grey_square_optical_illusion.PNG

 

 

Squares A and B are the same color...

 

Yes!  Great example  :) 

 

So, do you think you can explain if this would be considered a real illusion, or a false illusion?  

 

---

 

***Hint:

 

 

95be99211a.png

(A and B are the same color, but the rest that seem the same color are not.)

 

 

 

~ Miles

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So, do you think you can explain if this would be considered a real illusion, or a false illusion?

 

I don't really know ^^;

umm, I think it's a false illusion, because you can actually prove that the squares are the same color

Edited by Drasamo
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I don't really know ^^;

umm, I think it's a false illusion, because you can actually prove that the squares are the same color

 

This one's actually trickier than that...

 

Checker A is a "dark square," and Checker B is a "light square."  Because they are not in corresponding relation, their actual colors cannot be the same... but because they are still the same color due to the lighting on Checker A, and shading on Checker B, it is a paradox.  

 

Because checker boards have 2 colors for the squares; Checkers A and B are "dark" and "light" squares respectively.  Therefore, there are valid differences in perception and interpretation.  With the help of image software to draw a single colored line, we can perceive the colors as being the same, but then interpret that they cannot be the same due their non-corresponding positions (dark checker square vs light checker square). 

 

00a2c90a37.jpg

 

So, it is a real illusion.

 

---

 

That was a great example, though, thanks  ;) 

 

~ Miles

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Another reason you can tell the cat is going downstairs:

You can clearly see the wooden, un-patterned ridges, which are the steps. It would just be weird of the cat were going upstairs, because then the steps would be patterned and have flat wooden bits in front of them which would make them uncomfortable to walk one. :P

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Another reason you can tell the cat is going downstairs:

You can clearly see the wooden, un-patterned ridges, which are the steps. It would just be weird of the cat were going upstairs, because then the steps would be patterned and have flat wooden bits in front of them which would make them uncomfortable to walk one. :P

 

Thanks! At least someone else who noticed the purple in the woods and not just the burning tree.

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Yes, but they are like extensions of the "roof" of the step. making a shadow on the "wall" on the next step one level below.

The reason is to make a the steps larger so even tall people can climb the stairs without flexing their feets outwards like a duck.

 

If they were placed on the inverse mode (like short protuding walls at the end of each step), when you go down the stairs you may get one of your shoes/toes/hooves "stuck" and then falling just by the inertia of the rest of your body [that was the "dangerous" part].

 

Another reason you can tell the cat is going downstairs:

You can clearly see the wooden, un-patterned ridges, which are the steps. It would just be weird of the cat were going upstairs, because then the steps would be patterned and have flat wooden bits in front of them which would make them uncomfortable to walk one. :P

 

These are the stairs in my house:

 

 

FYPcZAZ.jpg

 

 

The patterned steps thing makes sense though ^^

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@@Drasamo,

 

Note that I never did mention the little ridge things - I've seen stairs like yours before, and knew that the ridges in the pic with the cat don't mean anything one way or another...

However, thanks for that picture.  I've edited your picture to show what I was talking about before with angles.

080554e19a.png

a8a0e8a389.png



As you can see in the first picture, when aiming a camera downstairs (as if the cat was walking up) from a normal position, the stairs do not make right angles.  But, in the second, when aiming straight forward at the stairs, right angles are made.

The only way to make the stairs appear to have a right angle when pointing downstairs (as if the cat was walking up), is if you took the shot straight down from the ceiling, at which you would see the stepping surface of the stairs make rectangles (thus, right angles).

You can see the cat in the picture looks straight forward, as its head is parallel to its body.  The cat is walking downstairs.

~ Miles

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  • 8 years later...

Ok lol what is this

1. I love the MS Paint images, I will save them to use out of context for later :toldya:

2. I love that this thread went from "Let's talk about illusions" to "Is the cat going up or down" with only one other illusion really mentioned in between

3. I love and hate illusions. They're crazy and make my head want to explode. There are so many classic ones too. The last illusion I remember making people go nuts was the "Yanny/Laurel" audio clip one that made people argue so heavily for no reason, more heated than political and religious debates combined.

The one that always makes my head scratch is the spinning ballerina one. And one I think is pretty cool is the one that Disney uses for one of their props, it's a mask that's concave I believe but it confuses the eyes a lot.

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