Academic Scholarship

Successor states in a four-state ambiguous figure

Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 9(2), 292- 297, May 2002

Photo Needed Gregory A. Burton, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology

The satiation theory of ambiguous figures holds that interpretation shifts are caused by fatigue of neural arrangements responsible for the prevailing interpretation. A four-state multistable figure is introduced, in which two depicted cubes can be seen as connected or unconnected and as facing up or facing down. Observers viewed the figure for 4 min. When descriptive labels were used for the interpretations, shifts to interpretations that shared neither dimension were significantly more frequent than shifts that conserved orientation or connection/ disconnection. However, all types of transitions were equally likely when arbitrary letter codes were used, implying that the putatively fatigued assemblies can be dedicated to whole figures or to their characteristics,depending on observer expectations.


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