Rabbit or duck? Optical illusion reveals how creative you are based on what you see - and how quick you see it

The image you see in the rabbit-duck optical illusion sketch is said to show how quickly your brain works, and how creative you are

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Optical illusions can offer an intriguing insight into the way we think, including how creative we are.

How we perceive an optical illusion can reveal which side of our brain is more dominant, which in turn can say a lot about our personality.

A sketch depicting both a rabbit and a duck is one such example that is said to show how quickly our brain works - and how creative we are.

What image do you see?

Some people will see a rabbit in the image, while others will see a duck - and in some cases people will be able to see both.

Do you see a rabbit, a duck or both? (Image: Wikimedia Commons)Do you see a rabbit, a duck or both? (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Do you see a rabbit, a duck or both? (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Research suggests the faster you can switch between the image of the rabbit and the duck the quicker your brain works, and those who can do this at speed are said to be more creative.

Most people can see the duck, but have difficulty seeing the rabbit.

As for those who can see both animals, it is said that these people have a greater sense of creativity than most.

The rabbit-duck optical illusion can be traced back to October 1892 when it was published in an issue of Fliegende Blätter, a German magazine, with the caption “Which animals are most like each other?”.

It has also been used by American psychologist Joseph Jastrow in 1899 who believed that the mental processing of images was central to interpretation of the world.

He used the illusion to demonstrate that what people see also depends on their emotional state and their surroundings.

Mr Jastrow’s research was based on how quickly the second animal in the image can be seen, and how fast participants could change their perception of the drawing to switch between the duck and the rabbit.

The result of the test also appeared to change depending on the time of year, with people being more likely to see the rabbit first during the Easter period, while the duck is more common in October.

After being used by Mr Jastrow, the sketch was made famous by Ludwig Wittgenstein who included it in his Philosophical Investigations to describe different ways of seeing.

The illusion was later used in a 2011 study published in the British Journal of Psychology which assessed participants’ creative ability, and the ease at which they could perceive alternative interpretations of the rabbit-duck figure.

Researchers asked participants to consider everyday objects and list as many uses for them as they could in two minutes.

They were then shown the rabbit-duck illusion and asked which animal they saw. Researchers then recorded how long it took those who could see both to flip between the two animals.

The results confirmed the theory that those who could switch between the rabbit and the duck the fastest were also able to find an average of three more uses for the everyday objects, compared to those who had difficulty seeing both.

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