Image: Wikipedia Commons
Look at the photo and what do you see? A rabbit, right? Oh no… maybe a duck? Maybe it’s a “dabbit”?
The ambiguous figure illustration pictured above is more than 100 years old, but after resurfacing recently it’s still dividing people. Why? Because according to psychologists, the animals you can see in the picture indicates some interesting things about your personality.
Originally published in German human magazine Fliegende Blätter in 1892, the image has since been adopted by a number of psychologists as a way to show how the brain and perception works.
The image was first adopted in 1899 by American psychologist Joseph Jastrow to demonstrate that what you see is also influenced by your surroundings and emotional state. He had discovered that children who saw the picture at Easter time were more likely to see a rabbit, whereas they more frequently saw a duck in October.
However, it was made famous — it’s even a children’s book — by Austrian-British Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, who used it in his 1953 book Philosophical Investigations to show two different ways of seeing the same thing.
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So what does your perception mean? While research has shown most people see the duck first before then flipping to the rabbit, the telling factor is whether you can see both animals in the image and how difficult it is to switch between the two.
A 2011 study published in the British Journal of Psychology found if you can flip between seeing a duck or rabbit easily, then you’re more likely to be a much more creative person.
The researchers gave the participants a simple creativity test, asking them to list as many novel uses for an everyday object as they could in just two minutes. (Post continues after gallery.)
For example, you sit on a chair, but to use it to stand on, burn for fire or stack as abstract artwork are much more unusual uses. After completing the test they were then asked to switch between the duck and rabbit.
The results showed that those who could easily flip between the two animals were able to come up with an average of five novel uses for the everyday item, while those that struggled came up with less than two.
The link to creativity comes from your ability to see things in a new light (i.e. a new animal), which represents creative insight and capability to make connections between two seemingly separate ideas. We hear a light bulb going off…
Are you #TeamRabbit or TeamDuck?