figure-ground reversal

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A phenomenon underlying many ambiguous figures, the alternating perceptions of which depend on shifting interpretations of which parts of the image represent the figure and which represent the (back)ground. The Dutch graphic artist Maurits C(ornelis) Escher (1898–1970) often exploited this phenomenon, together with visual puzzles in the form of impossible figures (Escher figures). See reversible goblet.

Subjects: Psychology.

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