The rabbit-duck optical illusion is a classic example of an ambiguous image or reversible figure, an image or figure that can be interpreted in more than one way.
The drawing in this illusion can be perceived as either a duck or a rabbit. When looked at one way, the image appears to be a duck, with the beak facing one direction. But if you shift your perception, the duck’s beak becomes the rabbit’s ears, and the image transforms into a rabbit facing the opposite direction.
This illusion was first popularized by American psychologist Joseph Jastrow in the late 19th century to demonstrate that perception is not only what one sees, but also a mental activity. The way the image is interpreted can also depend on one’s mental state, external factors, or even suggestion.
Interestingly, the rabbit-duck illusion also serves as a metaphor in philosophy, particularly in discussions about how perspective or context can influence interpretation.