Purchase this article with an account.
Clarissa R. Slesar, Arien Mack; Perversible Figures: An Ironic Process in Perception. Journal of Vision 2005;5(8):349. doi: 10.1167/5.8.349.
Download citation file:
© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Wegner and colleagues found an ironic hyperaccessibility to thoughts Ss were instructed to suppress under conditions of high cognitive load which they called the Ironic Effect. Wegner proposed that the Ironic Process underlying this effect entails the integration of two parallel processes: an effortful cognitive process which searches for distractors, and an automatic process which monitors the occurrence of the forbidden target thought (Wegner, et al. 1987). We explored whether there might be a perceptual analogue to this effect by presenting Ss with one of two reversible figures (Duck/Rabbit, Cat/Swan) and asking them either to hold (maintain) or to try not to see (suppress) one of the two views. Using two computer keys, Ss recorded which construal they were perceiving during a two-minute observation period. In comparison to a control group (N=32) that were given no suppression or maintain instructions, the experimental Ss (N=64) perceived the undesired view of the figure for significantly greater periods of time than its alternative. We conclude that instructions to suppress or maintain one construal of a reversible figure creates a high perceptual load resulting in a perverse effect that appears to be the perceptual analogue of the ironic effect. This phenomenon has the potential to increase our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the perception of reversible figures and the Ironic Process itself.
WegnerD.M.SchneiderD.J.CarterS.WhiteT. (1987). Paradoxical effects of thought suppression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 5–13.
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only