What Do You See? One Phrase Will Change How Your Brain Sees This Image

A picture, which actually contains two different images, is going viral because people cannot believe how one phrase can affect the way they see it. The picture, developed by a psychologist 100 years ago, works on parts of our brain responsible for what’s called top-down processing. Researchers find that only a small segment of the population can see both images right away. So, what do you see? Now, check out how one phrase will change the picture from one image into two.


Most people say a rabbit or a duck. Only very few people can see both a rabbit and a duck at first glance. This optical illusion was first introduced in 1899 by psychologist Joseph Jastrow. All other optical illusion experiments came from this first duck/rabbit image.

Researchers at the Beckman Institute decided to see if a prompt could allow a viewer to see a duck and a rabbit at the same time. They came up with just a slightly different approach to the picture, see below:


Using a prompt, which in this case is a phrase, changed the outcome altogether, allowing most to see a duck and a rabbit. The phrase is “picture one eating the other.” When researchers said that phrase, the outcomes changed.

The results suggested an answer to the question they posed about whether the inability to see both interpretations was an inherent limitation of the visual system or due to top down processing differences.

“We think it’s probably more the latter; it’s top-down processing,” Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow Kyle Mathewson said. “We’re allowing people to use higher level processes in a better way, in a new way. So it’s not that their eyes aren’t letting them see, or that your visual system doesn’t let you see a duck beside a rabbit, but that everything you thought about ducks and rabbits before didn’t let you see the duck and the rabbit. So we’re giving you a new lens to look at the figures.” — via Beckman Institute

This experiment also gives insights to how powerful the power of suggestion is on the brain. The brain is our most misunderstood organs.

Scientists conclude we know little of how our brain truly works when it comes to storing information or how we see something with our eyes. It’s called connectivity from cell to cell, and researchers are trying to crack that code.

Did you see a rabbit or a duck? The time of year or where you live also can contribute to what you see. If your environment is more apt for you to see ducks, then you should see a duck, and the same is true for rabbits if you live where there are rabbits.

These optical illusions have been around for over a hundred years, helping doctors and researchers learn about our brains. They are also kind of fun to play with, so is it a duck or a rabbit? Now, if you said it’s a shark eating a bird, you might want to go see your doctor, asap!

[h/t Daily Mail]

About Rebecca Diserio, Opinion Columnist 2787 Articles
Rebecca Diserio is a conservative writer and speaker who has been featured in numerous high profile publications. She's a graduate of St. Joseph High School in Lakewood, CA and worked as a Critical Care Registered Nurse at USC Medical Center. A former Tea Party spokesman, she helped manage Star Parker’s campaign for US Congress and hosted a popular conservative radio show where she interviewed Dr. Alveda King, Ann Coulter, David Limbaugh, and Michelle Malkin. A police widow, she resides in Southern California.