March 1, 2002

Alternating figures are defined in scientific terms, Maksymowicz tells me, as "ambiguous diagrams serving in the psychology of perception to illustrate the way the mind habitually tries to achieve a coherent Gestalt. An example is the famous impossible trident, the bottom half of which seems like a square "u," and the top half like three prongs. Op art occasionally makes use of the phenomenon. One might speculate whether there is a non-visual cerebral equivale...

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