What Do You See?

This brain teaser is more than 100 years old, but it just recently went viral on social media:

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/images/gifs/rabbduck.jpg(click here to enlarge)

What do you see – a rabbit? or a duck?

Some see a rabbit and others see a duck – but are you able to see both alternatively?

What you see (and how fast you see it) can indicate how quickly your brain works and how creative you are.

American psychologist Joseph Jastrow first used the duck-rabbit drawing in 1899 to make the point that perception is not only what one sees but is also a mental activity.

Jastrow’s research was based on how quickly one can see the second animal and how fast individuals can change their perception to switch between the two animals.

The faster you can do this this, the quicker your brain works and the more creative you are, the research suggested.


Here is another famous perceptual illusion:

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/images/gifs/young3.jpg (click here to enlarge)

What do you see – a young girl? or an old woman?

Hint: The chin of the young woman become the nose of the old lady.

How fast can your brain switch back and forth between them?

For many years, the creator of this figure was thought to be British cartoonist W. E. Hill, who published it in 1915 in Puck humor magazine. However, Hill most likely adapted the figure from a similar illustration that was popular on Victorian puzzle cards.


Duck! Rabbit! is a children’s picture book based on the same concept.

Here is a copy of the image: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/G/01/books/promotions/duckRabbit01-700.jpg

Here is a K-5 teaching resource to go with it:
http://www.k-5mathteachingresources.com/support-files/duck-rabbit.pdf

These images provide a simple starting point for discussing different points of view and how there can be more than one way of looking at something.

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