When you first look at the center image in the painting by Salvador Dalí reproduced above, what do you see? Most people immediately perceive a man's face, eyesgazing skyward and lips (...) under a bushy mustache. But when you look again, the image rearranges itself into a more complex tableau. The man's nose and white mustache become the mobcap and cape ofa seated woman. The glimmers in the man's eyes reveal themselves as lights in the windows--or glints on the roofs--of two cottages nestled in darkened hillsides. Shadows on the man's cheek emerge as achild in short pants standing beside the seated woman--both of whom, it is now clear, are looking across a lake at the cottages from a hole in a brick wall, a hole we once saw as the outline of theman's face.
In 1940, when he rendered Old Age, Adolescence, Infancy (The Three Ages)--which contains three "faces"-Dalí was toying with the capacity of the viewer's mind to interpret two differentimages from the same set of brushstrokes. More than 50 years (...) researchers, including my colleagues and I, are using similarly ambiguous visual stimuli to try to identify the brain activity thatunderlies consciousness. Specifically, we want to know what happens in the brain at the instant when, for example, an observer comprehends that the three faces in Dalí's pictures are not really faces atall.
Visão: uma janela da consciência
Quando você olha para a imagem central na pintura de Salvador Dalí
reproduzida acima, o que você vê? A maioria das pessoas percebe
imediatamente o rosto de umhomem, olhos olhando para o céu e lábios (...)
debaixo de um bigode cheio. Mas, quando você olha de novo, a imagem se
rearranja num quadro mais complexo. O nariz e o bigode branco do homemtransformam-se no capuz e na capa de uma mulher sentada. O brilho dos olhos
do homem revela ser luzes nas janelas – ou reflexos nos telhados – de duas
casas de campo aninhadas em colinas escuras. Sombras...