Deceiving the brain: pictures and visual perception

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


Pictures deceive the brain: they provide distillations of objects or ideas into simpler shapes. They create the impression of representing that which cannot be presented. Even at the level of the photograph, the links between pictorial images (the contents of pictures) and objects are tenuous. The dimensions of depth and motion are missing from a pictorial image, and this alone introduces all manner of potential ambiguities. The history of art can be considered as exploring the missing link between image and object. Pictorial images can be spatialized or stylized; spatialized images (like photographs) generally share some of the projective characteristics of the object represented. Written words are also images but they do not resemble the objects they represent--they are stylized or conventional. Pictures can also be illusions--deceptions of vision so that what is seen does not necessarily correspond to what is physically presented. Most of visual science is now concerned with pictorial images--two-dimensional displays on computer monitors. Is vision now the science of deception?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe fine arts, neurology, and neuroscience
Subtitle of host publicationnew discoveries and changing landscapes
EditorsStanley Finger, Dahlia W. Zaidel, François Boller, Julien Bogousslavsky
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780444632883
ISBN (Print)9780444632876
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameProgress in brain research
ISSN (Print)0079-6123


  • Brain
  • Humans
  • Optical Illusions
  • Visual Perception


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