"Reality": Construction, Deconstruction, and Reconstruction

Hofstadter's Road Sign

Learning to deconstruct

The interactive display below can be used to acquire the ability to see Hofstadter's Road Sign in at least four different ways. Controls to the left allow one to bias one's perception by adding apparent barriers and arrows. Controls to the right allow one to vary the color of the dots at various locations in ways that may help one see different patterns.

"Reality" as deconstruction

Your computer is actually displaying the two patterns illustrated below, one after the other again and again.

"Reality" as construction

There are at least four different ways that your brain may see the display.

  • One dot on the left and one on the right, each moving up and down
  • One dot on the top and one on the bottom, each moving right and left
  • Two dots chasing each other in a clockwise direction
  • Two dots chasing each other in a counter clockwise direction