Generative Barcode Helmholtz Illusion


A square composed of horizontal lines appears taller and narrower than an identical square made up of vertical lines. Reporting this illusion, Hermann von Helmholtz noted that such illusions, in which such a space seems to be larger than an unfilled space, were common in everyday life, adding the observation that dresses with horizontal stripes are believed to make the figure look taller. We find that a rectangle of vertical stripes needs to be extended by 7.1% vertically to match the height of a square of horizontal stripes and that a rectangle of horizontal stripes must be made 4.5% wider than a square of vertical stripes to match its perceived width. This illusion holds when the horizontal or vertical lines are on the dress of a line drawing of a woman, even though that's a bit sexist.

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