Reversing or multistable figures demonstrate that sensations are ambiguous, and could arise from different external objects. The alternative organizations are equally strong, and the percepts shift back and forth at random intervals. Even if people try, they cannot completely stop the reversals. There are many types of reversing figures: spatial perspective, figure-ground, apparent motion, and pitch grouping. Regardless of stimulus or modality, the timing between the reversals is identical and if two reversing figures are presented together, they reverse independently; there is no interaction. Handel concludes that any explanation must include physiological factors such as the alternating fatigue and recovery of different sets of peripheral receptors bringing about the perceptual shifts, and cognitive factors such as the knowledge and familiarity of the alternatives.
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