Backward Brain?

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 7:20 pm

Backward Brain?

Post by dkdowell » Wed Aug 25, 2004 7:36 pm

Whenever I first look at a high quality photo of a cratered surface, or actually any photo of a surface with high relief and a low angle for the illumination (such as, my brain initially processes the image in reverse. That means that craters look like hills and canyons look like ridges. I have to force my brain to see it in the proper light. I mean that literally because to see the image properly I have to convince my brain that the illumination for the image is coming from the opposite direction.

As an example, I see a steep- sided, flat- topped hill being lit from the left side of the image. I have to force my brain to see it as being lit from the right revealing a crater.

Is this common? Do I have brain damage? Maybe I need a frontal lobotomy. Or is it, a bottle in front of me? (Sorry, Groucho)


David Wallace
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Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 1:44 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Dain Brammage

Post by David Wallace » Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:53 pm

No, you're not crazy. With a 2D image, your mind can go either way on the perspective. If your lifetime experience is more often involved in looking down at hills than looking into craters, chances are you will see hills, laking other visual cues. (Spend less time in the rockies and more time at Kilauea.)

I don't seem to have the same issues when looking through a telescope, but I sometimes get the same reversed perspective with an image.

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Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:42 pm
Location: Massachusetts, US

Post by Eni » Mon Sep 13, 2004 7:56 pm

I have also noticed this, but not always. It only seems to happen for me when the picture is "lit" from the lower-right hand corner of the photograph, so that shadows of a hill stretch to the top-left. If it's lit from any other direction, my brain sees it normally.


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Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 11:58 pm

helpful hints

Post by rmiller » Wed Sep 15, 2004 12:11 am

try looking with both eyes closed! works for me.