Visual Resources Kollectionn

tests and demonstrations of limits of human observation


Visual Tests for Witnesses and Juries


awareness tests       “look out for cyclists” spots  


judgment tests    “don't judge too quickly”    related spots 


memory tests       witness memory       eyewitness id  


filtered reality       gestalt       business logo test  

Scales of justice


Tests and demonstrations showing that observers and witnesses:

Test yourself and your friends. Challenge witnesses in deposition and trial. Show jurors.

Observation and Awareness


Witnesses can be unaware of people, objects, and events in a situation, despite being attentive to the situation. A witness's attentional focus affects what the witness observes. A witness might state that he or she did not see a person or object, despite that person or object having been present.

ComCon offers a number of visual resources to view, test witnesses' skills, and/or play during trial to help jurors experience directly that attentive witnesses may not be aware of the presence of people or objects in a situation.


Psychologists have developed a number of awareness tests demonstrating how easily people miss clearly presented information when observing a situation.

The effectiveness of these awareness tests hinges on viewers never before having seen the test. An aware viewer, on subsequent presentation, generally does not miss the information that viewers who have never before taken the test miss.

Try these awareness tests on yourself, test witnesses in depositions, or show them to a jury to demonstrate how even attentive witnesses can miss information.

Watch Video  The Card Test

Watch Video  The Count F Test

Watch Video  The Blink Test

Watch Video  The Phone Answering Test

Watch Video  The Conversation Test

Watch Video  The Color Change Card Test

Watch Video  The Dribbling Test

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Now take the "Road Test." The first video shows you the situation. The second video shows you the answer. When the answer is revealed, ask yourself: Did you see it?, and Did you see it the same way in slow motion?

Watch Video  The Road Test Situation

Watch Video  The Road Test Answer

Video Video


A public service campaign encouraging people to “look out for cyclists” ran a number of fun and interesting television spots that presented viewers with awareness tests.

Take the tests, test witnesses or show them to a jury to demonstrate that witnesses might not attend to unusual information or changes happening before their eyes.

Watch Video  Basketball

Watch Video  Chest Rotations

Watch Video  Phone Jokes

Watch Video  Who Dunnit?

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Observation and Judgment


Witnesses make judgments about what they see as they observe other people behave, judgments that can be inaccurate and misleading when witnesses are unaware of circumstantial information or faced with circumstances in which judgment is difficult.

What a witness recounts he or she saw may be an inaccurate description of situations, objects, people and events.

ComCon offers a number of visual resources to view and play during deposition and trial to test witnesses, and to help jurors understand that well-meaning witnesses may a) lack the ability to judge accurately or (b) lack circumstantial information and so judge incorrectly and recount inaccurately.


Psychologists have developed tests of how well people are able to make judgments of the physical qualities of what they observe. Height, length, size and color are common physical qualities witnesses report. Test yourself, challenge witnesses, and show juries.

Watch Video  Circumference vs. Height Test

Watch Video  Building Length Test

Watch Video  Line Length Test


Watch Video  Car Size Test

Watch Video  Mug Size Test

Watch Video  Alignment Test


Watch Video  Color Shade Test

Watch Video  Checkerboard Shadow Test

Watch Video  Dot Background Test


Watch Video  Circle in Light Test

Watch Video  Dog Color Context Test

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Witnesses lacking circumstantial information can make judgment errors about what they believe they observed. Ameriquest produced numerous and amusing commercials with the slogan “Don't Judge Too Quickly” that demonstrate judgment errors when observers lack circumstantial information when observing other people's behavior.

Watch Video  The Girls

Watch Video  The Brownie

Watch Video  The Hospital

Watch Video  The Parking Meter

Watch Video  The Romantic Dinner

Watch Video  The Plane Ride

Watch Video  The School Bus

Watch Video  The Breakfast

Watch Video  The Market

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Ameriquest's ‘Don't Judge Too Quickly’ commercials struck a chord, and other companies and independent individuals produced related spots focusing on the judgment errors that occur when observers lack circumstantial information.

The takeoff spots are more risque, and often more serious. Be advised that some of these spots might be offensive to some viewers, and so are organized here from least to most risque.

Watch Video  The Deodorant

Watch Video  The Bathroom

Watch Video  The Office

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Observation and Memory


Memory does not work like a digital recorder or a computer. Memory is pliable, suggestible, associative, forgetful and fallible.

ComCon offers a number of visual resources to view and play during trial to help jurors understand that witnesses' memories may not be accurate.


Psychologists have developed a number of memory tests demonstrating how difficult it is for people to remember details accurately, and how easy it is to recall them inaccurately.

Try these memory tests on yourself, and show them to a jury, to demonstrate how even motivated witnesses can fail to recall information at all, as well as to recall information inaccurately with certainty.

Watch Video  The Flowers Test

Watch Video  The Images Test

Watch Video  The Mystery Test

Watch Video  The Words Test

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Witnesses' memories of what they observed are affected by the questions witnesses are asked about those events. In the following video, Dr. Elizabeth Loftus discusses research on the questioning of witnesses of crimes and accidents.

Watch Video  Eyewitness Memory Distortion

See also:



Eyewitness identification of criminal suspects relies on memory, the very memory that is pliable, suggestible, associative, forgetful and fallible.

The Wells Crime

Dr. Gary Wells studies eyewitness memory by presenting videotaped "crimes" to "witnesses" and then asks these witnesses to identify the suspects in lineups. The first video shows one of Dr. Wells' "crimes" and its associated "lineup", and the second video reveals the actual suspect.

Take the test, or show the test to a jury, to demonstrate how even attentive witnesses can identify an innocent person.

Watch Video  Crime and Lineup Test

Watch Video  Actual Suspect

Video Video

The BBC Crime

The BBC took a group of people to lunch and made them witnesses to a murder staged live by actors. The first video shows the enacted murder, the second video shows the lineup, and the third video reveals the identity of the murderer.

Take the test, or show the test to a jury, to demonstrate the difficulty of doing a witness identification.

Watch Video  The Murder

Watch Video  The Lineup

Watch Video  The Murderer Revealed

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Observation and Perception


Whenever people observe anything, they must process what they see. People do not process identically what they see. Two people can look at the same object and “see” opposing things. Many people can look at the same object and “see” what isn't real.

ComCon offers a number of resources to show during trial to help jurors understand that a witnesses' perceptions can differ from each other, and from reality.


People believe their own eyes. Further, people believe that what they see is determined solely by the world outside of themselves, and that anyone else looking at the same object would see fundamentally the same thing.

In reality, what people “see” is determined by who they are and what they expect to see.

Take these tests, and show them to a jury, to demonstrate that witnesses can be mistaken and need not be lying when they disagree or misperceive.

Which way is the dancer turning?

Do you see the dancer turning clockwise or counterclockwise?

Some people see the dancer turning clockwise, while others see the dancer turning counterclockwise.

With effort, by staring at the shadows, the feet, different parts of the torso or other parts of the picture, people can sometimes change the direction they see the dancer turning.

If you use a different browser you can sometimes change the direction you see the dancer turn because the dancer spins at different speeds in different browswers (e.g., she turns faster in Firefox than in Internet Explorer).

Spinning Dancer

Do you see the room as it is, or as you expect rooms to be?

Are the girls vastly different in size, or is the room of different proportions?

People see what they expect to see, rather than the world as it is. Our memories guide, and distort, what we see.

Watch Video  The Room


What object is on the table in front of the girl?

What are your observations, and what are your inferences?

People have difficulty separating what they see versus what they think they see.

Watch Video  The Object


Who is angry and who is calm?

Are you at your computer, or 8 feet away?

The farther you are away, the more "blur" there is in what you see. With increasing blur, the emotional expressions change.

Watch Video  Angry and Calm


How do you describe the faces?

Are you disturbed by the faces?

Decoding of facial expressions works best in the orientation where faces are seen most of the time -- namely, upright.

Watch Video  The Thatcher Effect

Play with the Video  Thatcher Demonstration

[ after demonstration loads, use "Start ⁄ Stop" OR drag marker when "Stopped" ]



People organize what they look at into a meaningful "whole", a "take" that gives meaning to what they are looking at.

When a situation is ambiguous, people can easily differ in their perception of the situation. An identical object can be understood as a pedestal or two people, an old woman or a young lady, a young lady or a sax player, two people or one person, or a duck or a rabbit. Some people are able to alter their "take" while others struggle to do so.

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When a situation contains conflicting information, people can misperceive the situation. Identical center-circles appear differently sized, horizontal parallel lines are perceived as sloping, and nonexistent black dots are seen in linear crosshairs.

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Want to see more about how people perceive?



Try this test of business logos, which is based on the principles of perception discussed in the Visual Resources on this webpage.

What do you see in each logo? Study the logo, and then read the answer.

This test is quick, and can be shown to a jury or used with witnesses to demonstrate limits to observation and judgment, awareness, memory, and perception.

What do you see in the TOSTITOS logo?

If you look at the center of this logo, you can see two people enjoying a Tostitos chip with a bowl of salsa. This logo conveys an idea of people connecting with each other.


What do you see in the FORMULA 1 logo?

At first, this logo might not make much sense. But if you look closely, you'll see the number 1 in the space between the F and the red stripes. I also love how this logo communicates a feeling of speed.


What do you see in the MILWAUKEE BREWERS logo?

The Milwaukee Brewers logo is made up of the letters M (on top) and B (below the m). The M and B form the baseball glove.


What do you see in the NORTHWEST AIRLINES logo?

This simple looking logo actually carries a lot of information. You can see the letters N and W, the first two letters of the brand name. What most people don't see is the compass that points to the Northwest.


What do you see in the TOBLERONE logo?

Toblerone is a chocolate-company from Bern, Switzerland. Bern is sometimes called "The City Of Bears", which has been incorporated into the logo. If you look closely, you'll see the silhouette of a bear.


What do you see in the BASKIN ROBBINS logo?

The old logo of Baskin Robbins had the number 31 with an arc above it to reference its 31 flavors. The pink parts of the new logo retain the 31 flavors slogan while helping form part of the company's initials.


What do you see in the FEDEX logo?

Do you see an arrow in FedEx logo? If you need help in finding the arrow, roll your mouse over the logo.


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