Sandro del Prete

Love Poem of the Dolphins

This illustration incorporates a figure-ground perceptual reversal; it is also an excellent example of one's perceptions begins primed through experience. If one is young and innocent, one will most likely perceive a group of dolphins. Adults, on the other hand, will probably see a couple locked in a suggestive embrace. If one has trouble perceiving the dolphins, then simply reverse figure and ground: what normally constitutes the ground (dark areas) then appears as a group of small dolphins (the figures).

"This image was also displayed in an illusion exhibit gallery at the Museum of Science in Boston. When asked if there was any controversy about displaying this image, the curators replied that once a group of nuns had objected, but were quickly silenced when told that one's perception is based upon past experience." (from Masters of Deception by Al Seckel).