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Encyclopedia > Necker cube
The Necker cube: a wire frame cube with no depth cues.
The Necker cube: a wire frame cube with no depth cues.

The Necker cube is an optical illusion first published in 1832 by Swiss crystallographer Louis Albert Necker. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Viewed from a certain angle, this cube appears to defy the laws of physics. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... An optical illusion. ... Year 1832 (MDCCCXXXII) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a leap year starting on Friday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Crystallography (from the Greek words crystallon = solid and graphein = write) is the experimental science of determining the arrangement of atoms in solids. ... Louis Albert Necker, (April 10, 1786 – November 20, 1861), was a Swiss crystallographer. ...

Contents

Ambiguity

The Necker cube is an ambiguous line drawing. It is a wire-frame drawing of a cube in isometric perspective, which means that parallel edges of the cube are drawn as parallel lines in the picture. When two lines cross, the picture does not show which is in front and which is behind. This makes the picture ambiguous; it can be interpreted two different ways. When a person stares at the picture, it will often seem to flip back and forth between the two valid interpretations (so-called multistable perception). Examples of visually ambiguous patterns. ...

Necker cube on the left, impossible cube on the right.
Necker cube on the left, impossible cube on the right.
One possible interpretation of the Necker cube, often claimed to be the most common interpretation
One possible interpretation of the Necker cube, often claimed to be the most common interpretation
The other interpretation
The other interpretation

The effect is interesting because each part of the picture is ambiguous by itself, yet the human visual system picks an interpretation of each part that makes the whole consistent. The Necker cube is sometimes used to test computer models of the human visual system to see whether they can arrive at consistent interpretations of the image the same way humans do. Image File history File links Drawing of the Necker cube and impossible cube. ... Viewed from a certain angle, this cube appears to defy the laws of physics. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...


Humans do not usually see an inconsistent interpretation of the cube. A cube whose edges cross in an inconsistent way is an example of an impossible object, specifically an impossible cube (compare Penrose triangle). Two famous undecidable figures, the Penrose triangle and devils pitchfork. ... Viewed from a certain angle, this cube appears to defy the laws of physics. ... The Penrose triangle Impossible Triangle sculpture, East Perth, Australia The Penrose triangle, also known as the tribar, is an impossible object. ...


With the cube on the left, most people see the lower-left face as being in front most of the time. This is possibly because people view objects from above, with the top side visible, far more often than from below, with the bottom visible, so the brain "prefers" the interpretation that the cube is viewed from above.


There is evidence that by focusing on different parts of the figure one can force a more stable perception of the cube. The intersection of the two faces that are parallel to the observer forms a rectangle, and the lines that converge on the square form a "y-junction" at the two diagonally opposite sides. If an observer focuses on the upper "y-junction" the lower left face will appear to be in front. The upper right face will appear to be in front if the eyes focus on the lower junction (Einhauser, et al., 2004).


The Necker cube has shed light on the human visual system. The phenomenon has served as evidence of the human brain being a neural network with two distinct equally possible interchangeable stable states.[1] Sidney Bradford, blind from the age of ten months but regaining his sight following an operation at age 52, did not perceive the ambiguity that normal-sighted observers do. The human brain controls the central nervous system (CNS), by way of the cranial nerves and spinal cord, the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and regulates virtually all human activity. ... // See also Artificial neural network. ... Sidney Bradford, born 1907, was born blind but regained sight at age 52. ... This article is about the visual condition. ...


Epistemology

The Necker cube is used in epistemology (the study of knowledge) and provides a counter-attack against naïve realism. Naïve realism (also known as direct or common-sense realism) states that the way we perceive the world is the way the world actually is. The Necker cube seems to disprove this claim because we see one or the other of two cubes, but really, there is no cube there at all: only a two-dimensional drawing of twelve lines. We see something which is not really there, thus (allegedly) disproving naïve realism. This criticism of naïve realism supports representative realism. It has been suggested that Meta-epistemology be merged into this article or section. ... Naïve realism is a common sense theory of perception. ... Dimension (from Latin measured out) is, in essence, the number of degrees of freedom available for movement in a space. ... Representative Theory of Perception, also known as Indirect realism and epistemological dualism, is a philosophical concept. ...


A rotating Necker cube was used to demonstrate that the human visual system can recruit new visual cues that affect the way things look. Cue recruitment is a form of associative learning in human perception. ...


External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
  • history of the cube and a Java applet
  • modelling human perception of the cube
  • Explanation of the Necker cube and other gestalt phenomena
  • Video demonstration of the Necker Cube

Image File history File links Commons-logo. ...

References

  • Einhäuser, Wolfgang, Martin, Kevan A. C. & König, Peter (2004) Are switches in perception of the Necker cube related to eye position?. European Journal of Neuroscience 20 (10), 2811-2818.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Necker cube (208 words)
The Necker Cube is an optical illusion first published in 1832 by Swiss crystallographer[?] Louis Albert Necker[?].
It is a wire-frame drawing of a cube in isometric perspective, which means that parallel edges of the cube are drawn as parallel lines in the picture.
The Necker Cube is sometimes used to test computer models of the human visual system to see if they can arrive at consistent interpretations of the image the same way humans do.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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