A Topology for Figural Ambiguity

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Thaddeus M. Cowan: A Topology for Figural Ambiguity. In: Bridges 2000. Pages 217–224



A topology for figural ambiguity (braid theory) is proposed which describes figure-figure, figure-ground, and figure-ground-figure ambiguities with the defming relations of the topology. The power of the topology is demonstrated by the classification of ambiguities and the revelation of new ambiguous forms.

Extended Abstract


Used References

[1] P. Agule in J. R. Block and H. E. Yuker Can You Believe Your Eyes? Gardner Press, New York, 1989.

[2] E. Artin, Theory of braids. Annals ofMath. , 48,101 (1941).

[3] T. M. Cowan, The theory of braids and the analysis of impossible figures, Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 11, 190, 1974.

[4] T. M. Cowan, Turning a Penrose triangle inside out. Journal ofMathematical Psychology, 26(3),252 (1982). Reprinted in Knots and Applications, L. Kauffman, Ed. (World Scientific Press, Singapore, 1995), pp. 465-475.

[5] E. H. Gombrich, Art and Dlusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation (Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1969).

[6] R. Price, Droodles (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1953).


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