ADVERTISEMENT

Right-Side Up

Studies of perception show the importance of being upright
THIS IS A PREVIEW.
or subscribe to access the full article.

THE LENS IN YOUR EYE casts an upside-down image on your retina, but you see the world upright. Although people often believe that an upside-down image in the eyeball gets rotated somewhere in the brain to make it look right-side up, that idea is a fallacy. No such rotation occurs, because there is no replica of the retinal image in the brain—only a pattern of firing of nerve impulses that encodes the image in such a way that it is perceived correctly; the brain does not rotate the nerve impulses.

Even leaving aside this common pitfall, the matter of seeing things upright is vastly more complex than you might imagine, a fact that was first pointed out clearly in the 1970s by perception researcher Irvin Rock of Rutgers University.

THIS IS A PREVIEW.
or subscribe to access the full article.
Buy Digital Issue $7.95
Browse all subscription options! Subscribe
Share this Article:

Comments

You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.

Email this Article

X