Even Your 4-Month Old Knows It’s Impossible
Even infants can be bemused by the impossibility of Escher’s drawings, recent research indicates.
The unusual and impossible draw our attention. In fact, this is how we pay attention. Numerous studies show that, in fact, we just scan our environment looking for exceptions. We don’t perceive all of it. We look at what’s different. (That’s part of why our firm is named after noticing those hidden dimensions of performance that may not be drawing your attention, but are still affecting you.)
Babies are the same way, and researchers note attention by babies based on how long they look at an object. I enjoyed reading Dave Munger’s blog account of how this experiment was structured, and how the researchers were able to use gaze-length to determine that the 4-month old babies could tell that Escher-like cubes were an impossibility.
I’ve always enjoyed Escher, but to think that my daughter could have enjoyed it with me years ago…
Note: Check out more on Necker Cubes, Escher-style blocks and more about cube-based optical illusions on Wikipedia.