The Mueller illusion Trick.

Excert from “The Mueller illusion.”

..Mueller report, and probably for no better reason than the similarity of the name, I couldn’t help thinking about a well-established concept from cognitive psychology. What is known as the “Müller-Lyer illusion”, named for its 19th-century creator Franz Carl Müller-Lyer, presents two straight lines side-by-side, each tipped with arrows in different directions.

The question is which horizontal line is longer?

Source: Wikimedia Commons

If on a quick glance you guessed the bottom one, you’re not alone. As humans, we process more complex versions of shapes such as these every day, for example flipping it vertically to look at the corner of a room where the wall meets the ceiling, the floor or a door. This unconscious process allows us to make instant judgements about distance. We make what are generally safe assumptions rather than devoting brain power to what would be a laborious task of finding our way around in the world. But such assumptions can be upended, the mind can be tricked. In fact, without the arrows, the lines in the diagram above are identical.

All of which is a long way of making an observation on the “same, same, but different” character of the debate about the Mueller report. For all the heat, allegation, claim and counter-claim surrounding the investigation, the argument is really about looking at the same issues from wildly different perspectives. The facts only occasionally come into focus. And it seems in politics, none of that is going to soon change.

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