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0. Left & Right Brain
1. Masking Alpha Channel
2. Rods & Cones
3. LGN: Magno & Parvo
4. SC: Superior Colliculus
5. Primary Visual Cortex
6. Dorsal - Ventral Stream
7. Eye Movements
8. Oculomotor System
9. Balance System
10. Ectopia & Microgyrus
11. Genetic Etiology
12. Reading
13. Animals
14. Conclusion / Solution
15. Different Theories
16. Peace of Mind
1.5.1 Questions & Answers

Q: One small point. I don't understand what you mean by vertical and horizontal alignment but I think your assertions about Asian and Western vision are probably mistaken.  As far as I know, there are no global differences between Asian and Western pupils, and since light enters the eye only through the pupil, only the light through the pupil stimulates the retina so that retinal stimulation, the source of vision, must be the same for Asian and Western eyes.


A: Indeed our eyes all see the same, and It is not a matter of dominance, vertical vs horizontal, because what we see is in our environment is always different. The basic alignment (balance) elements in our surroundings stay everywhere the same, due to gravity (horizontal) and growing towards the sun (vertical). And the structure in the primary visual cortex is adapted to this, and has the most natural flow and the shortest connections when what we see are straight vertical- or horizontal lines, this is what I call a Visual Grid.

The difference is that the way our sight is limited defines the way we look at, and relate to what we see psychologically. Westerners can relate easier to a straight vertical line because of the intersection between their eyes this creates a reference, a hold on. And they move their head in a way that feels most natural. For asians the visual limiting is minimal in a vertical way vs their masking elements that are predominant horizontal, so they will more naturally align to horizontal lines in their environment as a hold on.

Alignment Test: Place one hand vertical between your eyes, and your other at arms length also vertical. Now you can change the one between the eyes, to a horizontal position above your eyes, like indians see : )  turn the other hand at arms length and notice the difference of relating to what you see. When the two hands are aligned, in a vertical or horizontal way, our vision feels the most natural and less obstructed, you tend to look beyond or along. This is why Asian and Western art often differs, because the artists creates art in a way that is natural to him, to guide a spectator along or attract to.


Note: You can have strong alignment behavior, so give yourself some time to adapt to a different visual situation. It is like when your eyes have to adapt coming from a lighted environment and going to a dark enviroment, the parts of your retina that are being blocked have to become more sensitive to sense the masking so give yourself some time to adjust to the different masking situation.


The eye takes approximately 20-30 minutes to fully adapt from bright sunlight to complete darkness and become ten thousand to one million times more sensitive than at full daylight. In this process, the eye's perception of color changes as well. However, it takes approximately five minutes for the eye to adapt to bright sunlight from darkness. This is due to cones obtaining more sensitivity when first entering the dark for the first five minutes but the rods take over after five or more minutes.


Update regarding this test: Missing link: Pyramid & Upper Body movement (link)

(at the bottom of this page)
Q: I do not agree with your argument, nor do I find your "test" convincing.  What evidence from psychophysical or perceptual studies do you have for your claims?

A: I didn't realize that changing the way we see, and changing our viewing automatisms is that easy for everyone. So indeed proper tests and studies are the best way to proof this theory.


Below is a set of visual setup's that can be used for testing, and it is inline with the paper :
"Cultural variation in eye movements during scene perception"
by Hannah Faye Chua, Julie E. Boland, and Richard E. Nisbett


That states: "…Americans fixated more on focal objects than did the Chinese, and the Americans tended to look at the focal object more quickly. In addition, the Chinese made more saccades to the background than did the Americans."

Alignment test 1

  • Westerns: align to the vertical lines and in a second step see the pattern of a 'Sine Wave' in a linear way.
  • Asians: align to the horizontal lines that form pyramids and in a second step see also see the pattern of a 'Sine Wave' but in a volumetric way.

Alignment test 2

  • Westerns: align to the vertical lines who form a pyramid, but when going back to next line, they will follow the gap's as a stepping point, and see the pattern of a 'Sine Wave' again in a linear way.
  • Asians: align to the horizontal lines where the gaps are. At a second step they will relate the lines that go in the same direction, and the once in the the opposite direction can create a sense of depth creating again a 'Sine Wave' but in a spiral type of way.

Q: The triangle example you sent is a step in the right direction, but it's still too subjective and depends more on global/local processing than on vertical/horizontal.
What you need is a stimulus that can be organized either horizontally or vertically, and then to show that people in one culture tend to see the horizontal organization but people in the other culture tend to see the other organization.  Rows and columns of small black squares might do it; you'd then ask, which is stronger, the rows or the columns.  My best guess is that you won't find cultural (or eye type) differences.


 A: Here is a new test:

This test can show that a group and it's members will naturally most relate to:

  • Westerns: to the vertical element, so their perception is that the bridge is a static object and the river flows (movement). -> A
  • Asians: to the horizontal lines, so their perception is that the river is static, but not where the bridge 'crosses' the river (movement). -> B

It's not possible for me to place a more basic argument than this on the table, and as you already mentioned, only in a real scientific environment can this test prove my theory

A slightly different approach to the same bridge set up, with two other images. When asking both groups to draw a bridge, there can be different results. This will also show difference in their volumetric vs linear approach.

A human field view is about 160 to 208 degrees, the red lines represent the masking areas that are in each group significantly differently. These view-blocking/alignment areas are unconsciously felt and often enforced by eye-movement and/or sun-shadow.

As discussed above this can also show that there is a different approach to depth, that's why their art is also in a different way; to westerners it appears to be without depth (flat) but that's because the dynamics happen in a different way, as earlier described in the artworks. You can also show different photo's of a bridge (top, left, right, perspective) as an example and a start off point. But the basic idea is the same.

Q: Your claims are based on the shapes of eyes and facial reference points, and not only is there no evidence for that, it doesn't even make sense.

 A: Our eyes are indeed the same, it is the way we use them and our behavior that is different. Note, the eyes do see our facial elements, but sense them more as limitation areas. This also reflect the term 'hold on' and 'reference' that I like to refer to. Like the lines on the road when you drive you create a feel' for them to keep you inline.
Please visit the topic on my website:

2.2 Rods, Cones, Facial Masking & Alignment (Alpha)
As it shows on the diagram, there are reference points in the retina that correlate with facial masking elements.

For more reference tables please google:

"Distribution of Cones and Rods Across The Retina"

Q: Your claims are based on the shapes of eyes and facial reference points, and not only is there no evidence for that, it doesn't even make sense, specifically, this claim:

"The difference is that the way our sight is limited defines the way we look at, and relate to what we see psychologically. Westerners can relate easier to a straight vertical line because of the intersection between their eyes this creates a reference, a hold on. And they  move their head in a way that feels most natural. For asians the visual limiting is minimal in a vertical way vs their masking elements that are predominant horizontal, so they will more naturally align to horizontal lines in their environment as a hold on."

 A: Look at this image shot from under a bridge, this sort of represents the limitations for asians. You can sense the freedom of looking sideways vs looking up or down. Versus the blocking, hold-on reference on top. So if they take visual steps they can relate horizontal to their original view-motion-blocking element. There is also the element of shadow that fall's into the eye. For westerns this works in a different way because the main view blocking element is in the middle, creating an other type of reference, you could hang a lot of psychological ideas to this … but I like to keep it to viewing automatisms.

Q: The simple fact is that the shape of the eyes has no effect on vision; vision depend on the light entering the pupil, and pupils are round in every race/culture.
A: This is true, and like you say 'vision depend on the light entering the pupil' -> it are also the facial masking elements that define 'how' light falls into our eyes. Even note on the image the glare caused by the sun and blocking of the bridge. (see topic: 1.7 Diffraction)

Picture this: If you replace the action of 'seeing' by 'walking', and just as the eyes you, and every race, can go in any direction. Now see yourself on a field and this field is limited in a vertical way, now also picture an other field that is limited in a horizontal way. Now start walking around all day every day, and always starting from the same starting point, well this is what creates different behavior and alignment. The pathways marked on grass will also be different.
Q: One's own eyes cannot see one's facial structure (save the nose if you look cross-eyed).
A: The peripheral area of our eyes doesn't see color, but it does see motion so place your finger somewhere where you think you can't see and move it you will notice it. The eyes cover a lot of ground.

 Another test:

Each pillar is the same, but how many small lines are on the bottom of a pillar?

(click on the image on the left to enlarge)


According to the alignment theory:

  • Asians will count the 'square' of horizontal lines, because they are used to take steps in that direction and have less grip on the vertical lines.
  • Western will have less grip on the horizontal lines, they will have more grip on the pillars. They are also more used to take vertical steps and will say six versus the five at the bottom of the left one.


Q.1: The above test is interesting but there is again a problem. To count the square (as you say) of horizontal lines, I must run my eyes vertically; similarly, to count the vertical lines, my eyes run horizontally.  There are, by the way, some natural asymmetries between horizontal and vertical for all viewers


Q.2: Another finding relevant to eye gaze direction has to do with reading direction. Participants fixate a dot in the middle of a screen. It disappears and is replaced by a letter left of fixation and another right of fixation. Participants are to report the letters as quickly as possible. People who read L to R look left first and report that letter first; the opposite for people who read R to L.  Similarly, apparent motion seems to go rightward for people who read L to R and leftward for people who read R to L. Given that Asian languages are often written in columns, it's likely that Asians readers would be relatively faster at reporting a letter above than westerners.


A.1: This Is what I'm trying to explain that Westerners have a preference to align with vertical elements -> horizontal movement, and Asians with horizontal elements -> vertical movement, so they would pick the cube that feels most natural to count the lines.

Note, when you talk about running your eyes, therefore you don't always move your eyes, it's often also an inner-brain way of processing that can't be shown with eye-tracking tools, a left vs right brain discussion, … you can't see the wood from the trees…


 A.2: This is the crucial question, do asians write in columns because of 'alignment' or because of a blunt decision in their cultural history? I believe from my experiences that their relationship with horizontal view-lines caused their script to develop in such a way. Of course teaching and training strengthen this way of seeing.


Note: Asians use an 'abacus' at school because it's a natural up and down, way of counting.

New test:


Look at the image and which story-line is the most natural or dynamic; A-B-C? (below image)


Test this by adjusting your view as I have already explained, by placing your hand between vs above your eyes and place your finger on the tip of your nose. And do not to move your upper-body, block it, when you try horizontal- or vertical alignment test (see above: link), use only head & eyes to track, so you won't be overruled by possible pyramid way of tracking, and rotating your lower spine to align. You can block your upper body movement by just laying down.


(click on image to enlarge)


A. There is a bird that fly's in freely in the air and a man is going to cross the bridge on to the hay mount.
B. There is a bird flying above a man 's head and he's going to cross the river with on to the hay mount.
C. There is a boat, a mountain of hay mount, tall trees, the sun and a bird flying above a man 's head who is going to cross the river.

The dynamics of each story is different depending on alignment and framing, so the different groups; Horizontal (asians), Vertical and Pyramid (westerns) will have different preferences.


These 3 stereotypes are simple generalisations in reality there we see often mixed alignment elements. The use of alignment will depend on the subjects we look at and it's environment. When we see there is a much more interaction going on than just alignment; colors, motion, shadow, positioning, thinking, personality, etc..   


Here are 3 links where I have tried to visually represent possible framing and alignment:

Note: because of the up and down way of shifting alignment, japanese artist use less shadow as their perception of depth is different.

Comment : I do not know what your profession is.  I am a scientist.  I try very hard to distinguish speculation and fact.  I am immersed enough in scientific dialog to know that what seemed like facts turn out not to be, that there were nonobvious confoundings in the data that took careful experimentation to reveal.  Your website does not distinguish speculation from established findings.  With regard to vertical and horizontal, your speculations are about racial differences. Racial differences are to be taken even more seriously, that is, they need to be supported by strong evidence. You do not have any evidence.  You only have speculations, which I find, based on what I know about about vision and spatial reference systems, unlikely, based on incorrect assumptions about vision. Although you are very creative in inventing examples, you have no evidence for your claims.  I find al of this disturbing: the speculations about racial differences, the lack of regard for empirical evidence, and the public posting of specious speculations as findings.
A: I am a graphic designer, and the site is a project to present my experiences regarding the influence of what I like to call alignment. I don't want to be bias towards Asians nor to any other race, asian art just seemed to me the easiest way to show some of my experiences, not my speculations. And I have always had this disclaimer on my site: "The purpose of this site is to present questions and new ideas about the above subjects."

Regarding racial differences, I don't see any issues here, we are all equal and different at so many points and a better understanding of each others influences would be a plus for everyone.

This topic is only a part of the overall point that I like to make on my site; dyslexics who have some part of their brain, like the LGN that is developed in a slightly different way, can have different peripheral view, and have less grip on vertical or horizontal visual elements, this can lead to having difficulties to keep track when reading. And as we all know the majority of all races have no problem reading, so they have a continues and stable view depending on their own visual system that isn't only based on alignment there are many elements that come in to play.

About evidence, as I try to explain it is a concept of understanding, not something that is measurable… because our view is so relative; one step closer and you have this result, one shape here and you have an other result, one color with this tint … , so I try to show what I mean by different examples (test's). I do see how it can disturb you as it 's not so evident to understand what I 'm trying to explain, and a misinterpretation can always be falsely used, this is a reason why not to neglect but to have an open discussion, and take it for what it is. Also alignment changes when we change the position of our head and in different situations, alignment is in constant motion and not something to pin-point someone or racial group to.
Comment: Your ideas are interesting, but how does astigmatism fit in? After all, nearly 1/3 of people have it to some degree.
A: I believe 'Astigmatism' is more a physical problem caused by the lens and/or other optical/shape related parts of the eye, while alignment is an element of visual processing in the brain (connectivities), a way of how our eyes are guided by what we see and how we position ourselves, like when you see oblique lines / / / / / , you can start to turn your head to stay aligned, or keep your head straight and get the feeling that there is an unstable 'falling' movement involved.

The dyslexics that I describe have a weaker alignment system and less grip because there is a different balance between the information that the eyes produce and the processing ability of the LGN, the primary visual cortex (V1) and/or other parts of the brain. So when they read: a process of movement and interpreting letters, confusion can occur because of a weaker grip and a different style of processing of what we see. A bit like when you wave your hands before your eyes, the faster you do this, the less you can keep track, the more blur you see, you'll stop following your hand and instead you will notice/sense it going from left to right. There is also the element of how the left and the right eye works (dominance) the right eye focuses more on detail while the other sees more globally.
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