Rubin vase by Edgar John Rubin
Rubin Vase by Edgar John Rubin
Thesis: Synsoplevede Figures
(Visual Figures)
Year: 1915

Is it a vase or a silhouette of two faces facing each other!

The Rubin vase is a famous example of figure-ground illusion.

In the year 1915, Edgar John Rubin introduced the Rubin vase in his doctoral thesis named Synsoplevede Figurer (Visual Figures). It was written in the Danish language.

Edgar John Rubin (1886-1951) was a Danish psychologist. He is famous for his work on figure-ground perception.

Where Is The Negative Space In The Rubin Vase?

In Rubin vase illusion, the viewer has two possible interpretations both valid:

The white vase is on a black background. (The white color is perceived as the figure.)
Two symmetrical profiles face each other on a white background. (The black color is perceived as the figure.)

Both figures, that is the vase and the profiles have a common contour.

It can be summarized as an ambiguous optical illusion in which the negative space around the vase forms the silhouettes of two faces.

According to Edgar John Rubin, when two fields have a common border, and one is considered as a figure and the other as a background, immediate perceptual experience is characterized by a shaping effect that emerges from the common border of the fields and which operates only on one field or operates more strongly on one than on the other.

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