Culturally Based Visual Illusions

Culturally based visual illusions: How your culture controls what you see.

Our brains and our eyes constantly compensate for the raw material we perceive in our environment. Our culture and geographic location adds to the distortions we perceive. Take the “carpentered world” hypothesis, which posits that cultures that emphasize straight lines and right angles in their architecture experience certain “straight line” illusions, whereas cultures like the Zulu, who live in a “round” world do not perceive straight lines and their attendant illusions. The ways in which conscious- ness is focused and images are formed are truly culturally determined.