Sunday, February 12, 2012

Duck? Or Rabbit?

HANK: Sunday Fun--I think this is so fascinating! I know it's silly, but how do our brains so this? I swiped this from Psyblog. (Thank you so much.) And if you're writing a novel--think about what a good creativity exercise this would be!

Which do you see first? Duck? Or Rabbit? And how easy is it for you to switch?

Duck/Rabbit Illusion Provides a Simple Test of Creativity

Are you creative? Try this simple test...

The well-known known illusion above can be seen in two ways: as both a duck and a rabbit. Which do you see first? And if you see one, can you also see the other?

Most people see the duck first and can flip between the two representations, but the question is: how easy is it for you to flip between them? Does it require real mental strain, or can you do it at will?

Wiseman et al. (2011) had a hunch that the ability to flip between representations is related to creativity.

To test this participants were given a simple test of creativity which involves listing as many novel uses as you can for an everyday object in two minutes.

Take for example, a chair: yes you can sit on it but that's not a novel use. You can also stand on it which is a little more novel. Much more novel is using it to build a home-made fort, burning it to fight the cold or hitting someone with it in a bar-room fight.

The more of these examples you can come up with in an allotted amount of time, typically the more creative you are (try it, it's good fun).

In the study participants were then asked how easy they found it to flip between the rabbit and the duck in the illusion above.

What Wiseman et al. found was that participants who found it very easy to flip between rabbit and duck came up with an average of almost 5 novel uses for their everyday item. Those who couldn't flip between rabbit and duck at all came up with less than 2 novel uses.

This suggests that the ease with which you can flip representations is a clue to how creative you are. The moment when you flip between duck and rabbit is like a small flash of creative insight. It's when you notice the world can be seen in a different way.

Highly creative people often display this talent for finding new uses for an existing object or by making connections between two previously unconnected ideas or things.

If you want to try Guilford's Alternative Uses Task, then remember it's two minutes to think up as many alternative uses as you can for an everyday object like a brick or a paper-clip. Also, you need to know this about the scoring system:

"Multiple novel but similar responses were combined and given just a single point. A response was judged as similar if it fell into the same functional category. For example, 'a ring' and 'an earring' for the paper-clip both fall into the category jewellery, so would be assigned only one point."

So it's not as easy as you think!

HANK: So, are you duck or rabbit? And what's your favorite optical illusion?

Finally, have you seen the Charlie Bit My Finger video? If not.. here you's hilarious! What is cuter than a little kid with a British accent?
Happy Sunday, all!


  1. Help me out with the Charlie thing...this is funny? 418 million? And now I'm one of them....

    I'm a duck and then a rabbit. Will have many hours to try this exercise on my flight to Dubai. Kwaheri!

  2. Ro, I think it's hilarious. I guess it has something to do with their adorable agents. I don't know..I keep thinking about it and laughing.

    Yeah, 481 million hits! (There are 250 million people in the United States, just saying.)

    Bon Voyage!

  3. AH HAH HA HA I was going to delete the above post and then fix the typo. But then--you know I meant "their adorable accents" and not "their adorable agents."

    And talk about a slip...oh, well, happy Sunday all. Going to to breakfast..back son!

  4. Hank, there are over 300 million people in the US now, 311 as of last year. Talk about rabbits!

    I saw the rabbit, then almost immediately saw a duck. Hmm.

  5. I see the duck first and then the rabbit. I can switch pretty easily between the two.

    The one that caused me problems for a long time is the young lady or the old hag. In googling for it, I found which has that one, the one Hank posted, and many more.

    I do like these kinds of illusions as they stretch the brain, which isn't a bad thing on a Sunday morning.

  6. OH, 311. Funny what happen when one's back is turned. And right, Karen, rabbits!

  7. Yes, duck first, then rabbit, then can make myself dizzy switching.

    We all have adorable agents, right??

  8. First the duck then the rabbit. Easy to switch. I must be creative. Also easily distracted. Can you say, "WRITE THE BOOK."

  9. I would expect all of you creative ones to switch back and forth easily, and of course those of us who read you are creative too:) I switched pretty easily, and my favorite illusion is the old hag-young woman because it could also be symbolic of what we feel sometimes ;) Meanwhile, I'm thinking of various uses for a brick...

  10. I'm with Hallie. First the duck, then immediately the rabbit. I can switch back and forth, no problem.

    But can you say "WRITE THE BOOK"?

  11. I saw the bunny first. But the duck came pretty quickly. I dont care if anything they actually say is true. I love PSYblog

  12. Ah, now I don't know which I see just goes back and forth so fast. It's intersting that one thing two things.

  13. Jan, I'm so relieved that someone else saw the rabbit first! :-)

  14. Hank, oh happy Sunday! What a lovely day out west. Temperature plummeted to 72°F this after. Had to put on a jacket. It was too big! Yaaaay! So are my old poster child braces. Getting new carbon fiber with "mystery" print fabric fused into them! Shoes too big! Had to order new shoes, too! Yaaaaay!

    See? I see lots of alternatives. Maybe they wouldn't count on the psych quiz, though-- being all about things to wear. Who cares! I have a good excuse to buy new stuff!

    Charlie video is hilarious! When YouTube first came out, I went, "Huh?" Now you can't keep me away from it. Even made my own channel . . . for Kendall.

    Oh yes, quack quack. I am a duck. o> And a switcher. :>

  15. I tried this out on The Boy and Youngest, who both saw first a duck, then a rabbit. None of us had difficulty switching, proving that my children are undoubtedly superior in their creative abilities. (Although Youngest's favorite art course so far this year has been Mechanical Arts. Maybe we've finally produced an engineer in the family?)

    The ones I have troubles with are the positive/negative images - you know, like the "Is it a vase? Or two faces?" one. I always get stuck seeing one thing.

    And my agent is definitely adorable!

  16. I saw the rabbit first and then the duck.

  17. I'm with Ro on the video, I guess. On the picture, rabbit first, then immediately duck, then back and forth almost seeing both at once. I really like the young woman/old hag one, too. It's gun to flip back and forth.

    And we all do have adorable agents. I bet mine is more adorable than the two kids'. *said with pout*

  18. I'm totally duck.

    Love this exercise!

    And it also reminds me of an episode of HIMYM...

  19. Totally Duck! A great name for a band...

  20. There should probably be a mockumentary about a band called Totally Duck. A sequel to Spinal Tap...

  21. Strangely, I first saw this in small size, and immediately saw the duck, then rabbit. But when I came to your page where the image was bigger, I saw the rabbit first! Does that make me confused or creative? LOL