Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Hey there! This article was written in 2005.

It might not have aged well for any number of reasons, so keep that in mind when reading (or clicking outgoing links!).

Of elephants and rabbits

Posted 10 November 2005

Fascinating stuff, this cognitive psychology. Let me just fill you in on something I just read that I found very peculiar. To participate, you'll have to close your eyes and picture a rabbit and an elephant side-by-side. Ready? OK, now zoom in on the elephant and have someone ask you some of the following questions.

  • As you're zooming in on the elephant, are you still able to see the rabbit?

  • As you get closer to the elephant, are you able to see it in its entirety?

  • How close can you get to the elephant before you're not able to see all of it?

If you zoom in on the rabbit, the interesting thing is that you can probably get "closer" to the rabbit than the elephant before it fills your mind's eye's vision. What a silly thing, that your mind's eye artificially limits what you can and can't see based on your experience with the physical world!

(By the way, this experiment was conducted by Stephen Kosslyn. Credit where credit is due.)