Mental Sorbet : 263/420

muller lyer illusion

We’re not going to ask which line appears longer. We already know – depending on where you’re from. That’s right: For the famous Müller-Lyer illusion (image via rollingalpha.com), Americans see the line to the right with ends feathered outward (B) as longer than the line with arrow tips (A). But guess what? Born a hunter-gatherer in the Kalahari, you’d see the lines as they are (equal). Myth-busting anthropologists Joe Heinrich and crew at the University of British Columbia suggest if you grew up in box-shaped rooms with carpentered corners, you unconsciously estimate distance based on degree of the angles. If you grew up in the bush (read: organic shapes vs. 2x4s and carpenters), you see these dimensions accurately. Fasten your seatbelts, people. What else that we think of as a universal actually may not be?