Sunday, July 12, 2009

Optical Non-Political L/C-Mind Discriminator?

[Updated 14 July see "TRUTH"] Is there a non-political optical illusion that could discriminate L-minds from C-minds? That is the challenge Joel posted in an earlier Comment.

I thought about it and adapted the image Joel linked to and came up with a new image that shows a number of cylinders on a field of light and dark squares.

Using the cylinder labeled "A" as a reference, and using your powers of absolute judgement, which of the numbered cylinders is the most similar to "A"? Which is the most different?

Please post a Comment and express your answer as a two-digit number, the first being the number of the cylinder that is the most like "A" and the second the number of the most different from "A". (Of course, also say if you have Liberal or Conservative tendencies.) If you wish, I'd appreciate it you tell us how you came to these conclusions.


Joel wrote, in part: "When I started studying my concept of inborn L/C-minds, I hoped that I could find a simple non-political discriminator. It would be interesting to find an optical illusion that would do this. The trouble with most of them is that they are universal. ... It would be wonderful if L-minds saw one and C-minds saw the other at least at first glance. That would be proof of a wiring difference unconnected to education."

A few days from now, I will update this posting and indicate why I think this might possibly be a valid test of L- vs C-minded tendencies (or not :^).

TRUTH [the following was added July 14th]

The image below shows the "truth" about the five numbered cylinders as they relate to cylinder "A". Spoiler - Don't scroll down to the image unless you have thought about the issue for a while.

As Joel and Howard noted in their Comments, at first glance, "51" appears to be the answer. Cylinder "5" looks most like "A" in shading and size and "1" looks least like "A", much lighter in shading.

However, further "logical" consideration reveals some problems with that initial conclusion. The cylinders do not seem to conform to the laws of illumination. How can a cylinder in the shadow of the larger green cylinder have a bright top? Also, Howard remembered the base image is an optical illusion and the squares behind "A" and "3" are actually the same exact shade. Thus, since neither cylinder "A" nor "3" have a left edge, their left sides must also be the same exact shade.

So, how does this relate to L/C minds?


I have a theory that we each have both an L-mind and a C-mind, and we learn to use each of them to maximum advantage. We need both to survive and prosper in the real world.

Our L-mind is "warm-hearted" and "instinctual". Our C-mind is "hard-nosed" and "logical". Those of us with L-minded tendencies, tend to use more of that side of our intellect and vice-versa for those of us with C-minded tendencies.

For example, most L-minds would subscribe to Benjamin Franklin's notion that "it is better a hundred guilty persons should escape than one innocent person should suffer". Our L-mind imagines the anguish we would feel if we were wrongly convicted of a crime and sent to rot in jail.

Most C-minds would ask "Why 100? Why not 1000 (Maimonides)? Or 10 (Blackstone)? Or 1 (Trajan)? Should the number be higher or lower for capital cases?" A C-mind would inquire as to the recidivism rate: "How many of the hundred guilty would in future commit crimes that victimize other innocent persons?" Our C-mind imagines the anguish we would feel if we, or other innocents, were victimized by a guilty person who had previously been aprehended and tried for a serious crime but had been set free due to a crafty lawyer or some technicality.

In many situations it is important to react "instinctually" - "kill or be killed". In many other situations we have the time and resources to act more "logically" - "checks and balances". My point is that L-minds tend to react "from the heart" while C-minds "from the head". I thought my optical illusion problem might separate the two.


Back to the image! After logical consideration, it is clear that the instinctual "51" cannot be correct. There is something out of place about all the small cylinders. Those in the shadow of the large green cylinder should not have bright right sides, yet they do. Those outside the shadow of the large green cylinder should cast shadows of their own and yet they do not.

Clearly, these small cylinders are not in the original optical illusion image, but have simply been pluncked down in front of the image to confuse the viewer. Take them out of that image and put them on a uniform white background and the truth will come to the fore.

Cylinder "3" is identical to "A". Cylinder "4" is both larger and darker, so it is the most different. Thus, the correct answer is "34".

Ira Glickstein


joel said...

To my eyes (and visual cortex) 5 seems to be closest in appearance TO A. Number 1 seems to be most different. Therefore my code is 51. If I start to think about it logically and compare the pieces to the squares they sit on, I get a different result. -Joel, C-mind

Howard Pattee said...

I agree with Joel that 51 is what instinct tells us, but logic says 32.

Howard, L-mind, except when in a bad mood.

Ira Glickstein said...

Great! Both Joel (C-mind) and Howard (L-mind) agree that "51" is what their eyes, visual cortex, and instinct tells them. Yet, Howard says "logic" tells him it is really "32", without elucidating the logical process involved.

Thanks to both of you and ... HMMM!

I'd like to see more Comments and discussion and I will post the "truth" in a couple days.

Ira Glickstein

joel said...

My logical choice would be 13. Assuming all to be identical pieces certain laws of illumination and brightness ought to hold despite appearance. The horizontal to surfaces ought to have the same brightness if they aren't in the shadow of the big cylinder. Number three is impossible, because it's in the shade of the big cylinder yet has a bright top. It also has an unexplained highlight on its side. Number 1 is reasonable, because the lighting conditions for A and 1 are similar. One could go on with thiskind of analysis. However, if I had to put money on the answer I would use a totally different type of logic which analzes the questioner rather than the question. I would say that they are identical in brightness, because it's fits with the intention of the questioner to surprise the reader. Of course I could separate each piece from its context, but that wouldn't be fair. -Joel

Howard Pattee said...

My first logical analysis was that A and 3 show no left-edge of the cylinder. That means the left edge is the same grey as the squares they sit on. But we know these squares are the same grey. 2 and 4 show a left-edge. Logically I can't eliminate 5.

Joel's point about the light top of 3 "looks" impossible, but I have no way to logically check this.