The illusion created by Arthur Shapiro, professor of psychology at American University, Erica Dixon, a first-year PhD student at AU, and Kai Hamburger, a researcher at Universitat Giessen, brings a new dimension to understanding how our brains organize what we see.
"We perceive a world that can be divided into objects with boundaries," said Shapiro. "According to Gestalt psychology, the objects constitute the foreground, while the rest of the world acts likes the background for these objects. Our illusion illustrates that the visual system can organize the world based on the transition between the foreground and the background."
While the illusions in the contest are fascinating for all people to test out, they serve an important purpose.
"Illusions like these help us better understand the visual system and how we perceive the world," said Shapiro, adding "While we may think of the world in terms of objects and their background, the visual brain also cares about the important information that cuts across those boundaries".