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Week 4;The ambiguous image.


I have researched a study that was done in 2005 on the effect of bilingualism on reversing ambiguous figures. the test subjects were children all around the age of six. In the study, researchers found that the bilingual children had an easier and quicker time on finding the "other" figure in the picture, whereas the monolingual children had a hard time finding anything other than what they originally saw. Reasoning for these findings is linked to the perception of the children's brains, the bilingual children's brains have been "trained" to identify more than one meaning in a figure/word, making it easier for them to decipher the images.

  • Bialystok, E., & Shapero, D. (2005). Ambiguous benefits: The effect of bilingualism on reversing ambiguous figures. Developmental Science, 8(6), 595-604.

In 1977 an experiment was done to test the knowledge of the reversibility of reversible figures. High school students were shown 2 different reversible pictures. One was the vase-face figure and the other was depth-reversing pyramid-hallway figure. In this first part of the experiment known as the Uninformed condition the students were unaware that the pictures were reversible. After 5 seconds the students reported what they saw in the figure. After 3 minutes about half of the students did not reverse during the uninformed condition. As soon as they were told that the figures were reversible, almost all of the students quickly reversed. "These results are not consistent with neural fatigue models of perceptual reversal."

  • Girgus, J. J., Rock, I., & Egatz, R. (1977). The effect of knowledge of reversibility on the reversibility of ambiguous figures. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 22(6), 550-556.

An experiment was done with 40 patients with posterior brain damage and with 20 normal control subjects that were tested with an ambiguous figures task (AFT). For each figure that was to be shown they had to identify both ambiguous images. If you could not identify the second image you were prompted with the name of the image not yet perceived. Patients with the posterior brain damage exhibited greater difficulty in shifting from one aspect of an ambiguous figure to the other, than the patients with more posterior lesions and control subjects. Patients with poor performances on the AFT can be considered as a “frontal lobe sign” of perceptual perseveration.

  • Ricci, C., & Blundo, C. (1990). Perception of ambiguous figures after focal brain lesions. Neuropsychologia, 28(11), 1163-1173.

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