Impossible Elephant

Ambiguous, Impossible 9 March 2012 2 Comments

Psychologist Roger Shepard, a professor at both Harvard and Stanford, published a book called Mind Sights in 1990.  This book has been  described as “…both stimulating to the eye and provocative to the mind.”  It also happens to feature one of the most famous and classic optical illusions of all time.  While most people know it simply as the “impossible elephant”, the actual title of the work is “L’egs-istential Quandary”.  How many legs can you count on this elephant optical illusion?

Impossible Elephant

Regarding his L’egs-istential Quandary image, Roger Shepard writes the following in Mind Sights:

“The elephant…belongs to a class of objects that are truly impossible in that the object itself cannot be globally segregated from the nonobject or background.  Parts of the object (in this case the elephant’s legs) become the background, and vice versa.”

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2 Responses on “Impossible Elephant”

  1. Serge Bouvet says:

    In March 2012, I photographed an elephant in Rajasthan with fantastic illusion :
    Let’s look the foot and the trunk 😉

    All the elephants are magic!

    • Brad says:

      Serge – Very nice photograph. It took me a bit to figure out what was going on there. Did you capture this by accident or did you try to get this shot?

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