Epicharmus explained how our sensory organs are responsible for the deception, which caused people to see more than just an ordinary picture. Later, Protagoras, another Greek philosopher, drew his own conclusions, coming up with an entirely new reasoning on the matter. Protagoras blamed the environment for the distorted view and not the senses.
With two starkly different views deduced by that century’s most acclaimed philosophers, people did not know whose explanation to believe. Now, it was up to Aristotle, a notable Greek philosopher, to assess both deductions and decide on the most plausible answer.
Aristotle’s View of the Different Theories
However, Aristotle was just as confused as everyone else, as he believed that both philosophers were right, but to a certain degree. He agreed with Protagoras’s assumption that people need to rely on their senses to receive a correct image of reality. Later, he added that people’s five senses could easily be fooled into believing something that wasn’t there.
Still, the concept of optical illusions wasn’t clear and the debate on them continued. Several different researchers and philosophers began to ponder over the answer to the mystery of optical illusions. One of the philosophers that became fascinated with optical illusion was Plato.
Plato, a Greek philosopher, said that the trickery and the reality of the optical illusions were due to both the mind and the senses. Since then, other notable personalities studied the mystery behind the optical illusion. They are:
Psychologists In the 19th century, Muller and Oppel performed various studies related to finding out of how people perceive optical illusions. They published several articles and wrote numerous books, which reignited people’s interest in optical illusions. Both of them proposed twelve theories, explaining the unexplainable phenomenon.
2. Hermann von Helmholtz
German Physicist In the 19th century, Hermann von Helmholtz provided people with the concept of cognitive illusion. He was in agreement with Protagoras, as according to him, the assumptions people hold about their environment as a whole trigger cognitive illusion. For instance, the Café Wall illusion is an example of cognitive illusion.
3. W.E. Hill, Illustrator In 1915
W.E. Hill developed a cartoon of a young and an old woman merged together. Some people saw an old woman whereas others saw a young woman. The explanation of how this optical illusion was created was due to individual perceptions of it.
4. The Rise of Op Art
In the 60s, artists such as Vasarely and Bridget Riley developed an interest in Op Art, painting abstract images. They painted vibrations, hidden images, flashing, and other abstract patterns.
Optical illusions have an illustrious history that begun with the Greek philosophers and made a lasting impression on painters, psychologists, illustrators, researchers, and us.