See how they turn: False depth and motion in Hughes's reverspectives

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

8 Scopus citations


`Reverspectives' is one of many titles given to a remarkable class of Patrick Hughes's paintings that share two basic properties: 1) They are painted on a set of intersecting planar surfaces, rather than a single flat surface. 2) The perspective produced by the painting elicits the percept of a depth configuration that is the reverse of the actual depth configuration, as dictated by the construction of the multi-planar combination of surfaces (hence the name reverspective). As a result of these two properties, reverspectives appear to turn vividly as viewers walk past the paintings. This strange motion, which can rarely be observed in flat-canvas paintings unless they elicit strong perspective depth, can be explained by a neural process that matches up kinesthetic information about the viewer's own motion to changes in the retinal images. In this paper I study the role played by the perspective painting, by comparing percepts elicited by conventional Hughes reverspectives to those elicited by the same multi-planar surfaces that are left blank (unpainted). I examine differences in the two percepts in terms of the critical distance, i.e. that viewing distance for which the depth percept switches from veridical to reverse. This paradigm is one example in which the adoption of a depth schema determines the interpretation of motion signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-517
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
EventHuman Vision and Electronic Imaging - San Jose, CA, USA
Duration: Jan 24 2000Jan 27 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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