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Oct 12

Bowerbirds Use Illusion

When building the nest that attracts their mates, male bowerbirds use carefully placed trinkets and interesting designs to show off. The Great Bowerbird also uses a forced perspective illusion only visible to females. They place the biggest objects towards the rear of their courtyard and the smallest near the front.

John A. Endler says:

“The simplest hypothesis (and perhaps most likely) is that the more regular pattern on the court, as seen from the avenue, makes the male more conspicuous or easier to see  . . .  To my knowledge no other animals make constructions which produce perspective.”

Humans have used forced perspective since the Renaissance and often employ it in their gardens, photographs and buildings. Because chicks dig it.

Ender says:

“Visual art can be defined as the creation of an external visual pattern by one individual in order to influence the behavior of others, and an artistic sense is the ability to create art. Influencing behavior can range from attraction to and voluntary viewing of the art by others to viewers mating with the artist; this is what bowerbirds do. Our definition equates art with conventional signals that are not part of the artist’s body. In this sense, bowerbirds are artists and their viewers judge the art, implying an aesthetic sense in birds.”

pic nicked from here

Human males can learn a great deal from the bowerbird and use its theories while deciding on lapel sizes and tie widths. While forced perspective may not be directly applicable, one would do well to remember that each decision made while dressing can create illusions relating to both height and width.

Like the Great Bowerbird, the goal should be to make your person more conspicuous while influencing the behavior of those around you. Hopefully, for the better. Or just to get laid.  Whatever.

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