Stereotypes in Visual Perception


Our unconscious biases and stereotypes can influence our brain’s visual systems, leading us to perceive things and people in ways that align with these stereotypes.

Seeing nude women? Before assuming it’s pornography, reconsider… It’s fascinating how our minds are conditioned and stereotyped: in the first image, we instantly envision women in Adam and Eve attire, whereas the second presents a different reality.

©Gianni A. Sarcone

The Importance of Dots

It is often the little things that are the basis of progress… So let me tell you a little story about the tiniest thing on earth: the dot.

Thousands of years ago, a man in his solitude scanned the night sky and saw all those dots shining like so many still fireflies, and, perhaps for fun, he decided to join them together to form shapes. This is how zodiac signs and astronomy were born.

Far away, in ancient India, the dot symbolized beauty and the eye of knowledge. But even more, the dot they called “shunya-bindu” (शून्यबिन्दु) represented what we nowadays know as zero. It was first a placeholder and then a fully fledged number, for when it is added to the right of the representation of any given digit, the value of the digit is multiplied by ten. This is how our current numbers and decimal numeration system were born.

While drawing or painting, visual artists of all times used to fix a dot – or more specifically a point in space – which was traditionally visualized from the tip of their thumb. Eventually, when this point receded so far away in space, it became known as a “vanishing point”. A vanishing point is where all converging lines of a landscape meet at the horizon. This is how perspective and geometry were born.

One day, medieval musicians were tired of having to rely solely on their memories to remember songs. So they started to use dots, named “puncti”, placed on or between four lines to represent the pitch and duration of a sound. This is how musical notation and programming were born.

In the modern era, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, dots were used in many other symbolic forms: bumps, holes, single tones, flashes of light… Do the terms Braille, Morse, punched card, or pixel sound familiar to you? This is how communication and coding were born.

This is how the humble dot, often overlooked, has served as a fundamental building block for countless advancements throughout history. Never underestimate the power of small things; within a dot was the whole universe.

Bridget Riley, White Discs 2, 1964, emulsion on board, 41 × 39 inches (104 × 99 cm) © Bridget Riley 2021. All rights reserved.

(The text above has been used as foreword for the book “The All-Round Activity Book” available from Amazon)

Perceptual Nexus: A new philosophy of perception

Presenting a sneak peek of my upcoming philosophical book on perception.

In this exploration, I dissect the dynamic interplay between our “self,” the elusive “perception sphere,” and the external world. Operating independently, the perception sphere lacks self-awareness, creating a symbiotic relationship with the self, which, in turn, relies on the sphere for perceiving both itself and the external world.

Eager to discuss further with potential publishers.

The Master of Numbers

Presenting “The Master of Numbers,” my acclaimed artwork. This photomosaic portrait, assembled from 288 random number-themed photos, creates a captivating optical illusion, revealing the image of a great physicist from a distance.

Currently showcased in numerous Museum of Illusions globally, posters and prints of this optical art can be found on my online store.

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Globes within Spirals? (Optical Art Tutorial)

© Gianni A. Sarcone – redbubble.com

Are you seeing spirals? Look again, they’re actually concentric circles! This unique variation of the “Fraser spiral” plays tricks on your eyes by blending a regular line pattern (representing the circle’s circumference) with misaligned elements (the spheres with varying brightness).

Would you like to learn how to create this mesmerizing illusion? Follow my simple visual tutorial. If you have any ideas to further enhance this project, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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“Infinity”, A Kaleidoscope of Squares

With this work, I aim to push geometry to its limits, transcending the confines of color. My goal is to showcase the creative potential of simple concentric squares as a medium for experimentation and the discovery of new op art patterns. By delving into this exploration, I strive to unveil captivating illusions of color and mesmerizing motion.


Draw a large and a small square with thick lines and center them (Fig. A). Next, blend the inner and outer squares in six steps to create a set of concentric squares. Reproduce the set to form a larger square pattern, as shown in Fig. B.

“Enigma”, Paradoxical Volumes

In these minimalist op art pieces, I delve into the metaphoric realm of geometric shapes, with a particular focus on the hexagon as the foundational element for creating cubes and other simple three-dimensional regular shapes.
The artworks I present depict solid or three-dimensional structures that appear plausible and real, yet are in fact illusions known as ‘impossible figures.’ However, discerning these impossible figures isn’t immediately evident; one must concentrate on specific areas of the representation to grasp that they could never exist in reality! Drawing an impossible stereographic structure becomes achievable by merging two or more contrasting viewpoints or perspectives of the same object, or even by blurring the boundaries between the exterior and interior of an object…
The more ‘normal’ and ‘simple’ an impossible figure appears, the more captivating it becomes! Indeed, impossible objects aren’t created solely to bewilder the eyes; their purpose lies in confounding the mind and challenging one’s acquired visuo-spatial skills and stereographic knowledge.

Enigma 1: Available as prints and t-shirts.

The two intricate drawings displayed above and below combine two tribars to form an impossible isometric cube, showcasing a mesmerizing interplay between form and illusion.

Enigma 3: Available as prints and t-shirts.