October 25, 2004


New this month from the Redstone Press is their Psychobox: a fascinating collection of psychological tricks and tests, which includes 48 cards which variously illustrate inkblot tests, drawing completion tests, what-comes-next tests, optical illusions, etc. On the reverse of the cards are notes and commentaries on the images, and a number of text-based tests. Also in the box are an introductory pamphlet, and a piece of ‘reverse perspective’ artwork by Patrick Hughes.

'The Wall', optical illusion from the 'Psychobox': which vertical red line is longer?

Turning through the brain-molesting material on the cards made me grateful that I’ve never had to undergo much in the way of psychological testing myself. The most irksome such I ever had to do involved a list of 400 statements requiring yes/no responses, this part of a whole battery of tests I was obliged to complete further to a job-application I was ultimately unsuccessful in pursuing. I was reminded of this by one of the cards in the Psychobox listing similar statements, for example: I am not afraid of toads; My father could be described as dominating; People who do not know me hesitate before shaking my hand; I am sometimes fearful without any particular reason; People who are jealous of me have hindered my career; I am not afraid of going to my doctor… To these, by the way, I would reply yes; no; no; no; no; and yes - unless one counts dentists.

Optical illusion from the 'Psychobox': Concentric circles, or intertwining lines?


Optical illusion from the 'Psychobox': Concentric circles, or spirals?

Another of the cards in the Psychobox has a ‘complete the following sentences’ test. Here are my answers to the first half-dozen of these:

  1. When I look at the sky at night: I am filled with awe & feel at one with the world, or, I get a faceful of rain: it depends.
  2. When I think of my mother: I most often feel a little guilty that I haven’t called her in a while.
  3. From the time I was born: which was at the stroke of midnight, I have had the greatest difficulty in staying awake (or so I tell people when they remark that I look sleepy… I guess I must often look tireder than I feel).
  4. Sometimes I like to think: that I know what I’m doing.
  5. In the middle of winter: it seems that much harder to get out of bed in the morning.
  6. When my father saw me trying: to breathe after getting a plastic block lodged in my throat (I was three or four years old), he grabbed my legs and held me upside-down until the obstruction was dislodged.

To be honest, I found it inordinately difficult to think of an answer for that sixth question. The Psychobox’s editor Mel Gooding comments, with regard to this test that ‘it is not surprising that for some subjects [it] induces anxiety.’

'The Ouchi Illusion' from the 'Psychobox'.


'The Checkerboard Illusion' from the 'Psychobox'.

One last test that I’ll mention here is that where the subject is required to write a story guided by a sequence of questions: You enter a wood: is it dark or light?; Is there a path, or is way forward blocked?, etc. Ones responses are supposed to indicate ones underlying attitudes to issues symbolised in the story. A few years ago I tried my hand at one such that I happened upon during my internet browsing: here is the result.

Lingelbach's 'Scintillating Grid Illusion' from the 'Psychobox'.


Posted by misteraitch at October 25, 2004 12:10 PM | TrackBack


Thanks! ;o]] I can't believe what I'm doing but it feels good, though.. -- Sometimes I like to think: that I'm finally losing it...

Posted by: L on October 25, 2004 01:17 PM

I love all of these images.

Posted by: eva on October 26, 2004 11:40 PM

i was searching for a logo for a group of people in the netherlands who will take care for disabled people and whom are lost between the government and assurance people or something and your spiral looks just good for this idee may i use it it is a kind of nonprofit organisation. and i will not charge them for my work.
excuses for my bad english

Posted by: John on May 30, 2007 11:02 PM

How can I create my own optical illusion?

Posted by: Lizzy on June 20, 2007 08:33 PM
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