3 Interposition Psychology in Real Life Examples

Definition of Interposition Psychology

What is psychology?

Psychology is the science of mind and behavior which has many schools within itself that explain human mind and behavior in different perspectives.

This article will be focusing on interposition psychology, the psychology of human visual perception and depth, and the interposition psychology will be giving us the explanation with real-life examples and illustrations that the way we perceive the depth and distance of the objects around us.

What is Interposition?

According to American psychological association, interposition stands for “a monocular depth cue occurring when two objects are in the same line of vision and the closer object, which is fully in view, partly conceals the farther object. Also called relative position.”[1] To understand the term better, you can directly look somewhere that you see at least two objects. If those two objects are not in the same line next to each other, you will be seeing that one item is closer to you than the other. Have you ever thought how do you understand that?

The explanation which the interposition psychology gives is that you understand the closer object is closer than the further one because the closer one covers some parts of the further objects. This is how we understand depth as well.

Rather than interposition, we can use the word overlapping, since the explanation basically states that the way we perceive the items’ depth is understood by the overlapping of the image of the objects.

The Real-Life Examples of Interposition

  • As an example of that interposition psychology would explain; you can think of the moment that you were hungry, and you ordered a pizza. When you put the pizza box on the table, you know that the pizza box is closer to you than the table because the pizza box covers some parts of the table on your vision.
  • Imagine a forest that you are walking in. You see trees that are closer or further to you, how you decide which tree is closer to you is by seeing the tries overlapping with each other. You perceive the tree that covers the tree behind it as closer and you perceive the covered tree as a further object.
  • Think of your shoelaces and your shoes, they are always closer to you than your shoes, right? It is all because shoelaces are covering the upper part of your shoes and you don’t see what is immediately behind the shoelaces because of the overlapping.
  • The other example that I will be giving will be the example that you will remember while going out of the room that you are currently in. Only if you will use the door to go out… When you see the door, and its door handle, you know that doorhandle is closer to you, right? And when you look at the door as a whole object, you will recognize that you don’t see the parts where the door handle is covering. This is what makes you perceive that the door handle is closer to you than the door itself.

All the examples that are mentioned above has something in common which is, they

all stand lowkey close to each other and covering or overlapping with each other. However, does it always have to be that way? No!

There is another example, think of a pair of sneakers. Imagine one of it stands ten steps away from you and the other is fifteen steps away from you. At the time, they have also two steps in between each other. If their shade of one sneaker would be covering the other sneaker, then we would call it interposition. On the other hand, if we imagine those sneakers also being five steps away from each other than their shadows will not be touching each other. In this case, interposition is not the principle that we explain our vision. Now, we explain how we understand that one sneaker is further away than the other is by perspective. So, that means it is no longer explained by interposition psychology principles but explained in a more general term that is perspective -the point of view that you are looking the object from.

In order to make it crystal clear, you may check the illustration below.

interposition psychology

As a conclusion, interposition psychology is a school of psychology that explains how we perceive depth, which means how we understand which item further and which item is closer. And the proposed explanation for that is; overlapping of the items that cover some parts of each other that blocks as the item itself of blurs our vision with its shadow that causes interposition.


[1] https://dictionary.apa.org/interposition

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