I really enjoy communicate the mysteries behind the science of perception in a simple and clear manner with the use of instructive images.
We live in a “reallusive” world… Illusions are not totally unreal, because we feel them as they were real. Reality is also a kind of ‘illusion’. The outside world is mediated through our sense organs: vision, hearing, taste, touch and smell. All what we perceive and feel are just REPRESENTATIONS of reality, not the reality itself.
Children have a different way of looking at the world. So, writing and illustrating optical illusion books for kids is not an easy task, because they are less fooled by visual illusions than adults. This is due to the fact that brain’s capacity to consider the CONTEXT of visual scenes, and not just focus on SINGLE PARTS of scenes, develops very slowly.
My new work “Optical Illusions” will make you question: “is seeing believing?”… The brain is an amazing thing, but it doesn’t always get things right when it comes to sight. My book is here to explain why, with astounding images, baffling puzzles, and simple reveals. Continue Reading →
In the examples on your right hand, you can perceive two apples with four different zones. But what happens if we conceal the brightness boundaries of the color zones with black thick lines? You may see the apples as having a uniform color! Continue Reading →
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
— Albert Einstein
Everything you “see” depends strongly on the context and attention you give to it. The mind and the world you experience are inseparable, as it is your 3-pound brain that make the world meaningful. Seeing isn’t some kind of direct perception of reality. Actually, our bairns are cnostanlty itnerperting, correcting, and giving srtuctrue to the viusal ipnut form our eeys. If this were not the case, you would not see any colors (consider that all the beautiful colors you see don’t really exist), and you would probably see the world upside-down! Moreover, you would notice in your visual field a very large dot, called the “blind spot,” where the optical nerve enters the eye.
A Zen master said once: “If you pour water into a cup, water becomes the cup; if you fill a bottle with water, it becomes the bottle!” Likewise, the context shapes the appearance of the world surrounding you. Your brains work by comparing information and stimuli: contrasting colors, shapes, depth in a dynamic changing environment … that’s why perception is relative and not absolute. Continue Reading →
As you surely know, the “BEST ILLUSION OF THE YEAR CONTEST” is a yearly competition under the patronage of Scientific American, organized by the Neural Correlate Company (New York, USA).
Müller-Lyer’s illusion proves that a segment can visually appear longer or shorter depending on the sense of the arrow heads at its ends. In what consists my variant? As shown in the animation, the red dot in the middle of the line is equidistant from the other two red dots, although the ends of the line visually appear to alternately stretch and shrink like a rubber band!
The radial version of the illusion is even more impressive:
The perceptual increasing and decreasing of the segments occurs in a very short time. Thus, I suppose it is more a physiological phenomenon, rather than a psychological bias. Our attention seems to be attracted by the receptive field WITHIN the V-shaped arrow heads, causing an illusory inward or outward shift of the ends of the line.
The very first illusion is to believe that there is one, unique world of perception. The mind and the world we experience are inseparable, as it is the mind that makes the world meaningful. Our mind IS our world. Despite the fact that our mental construct of what is perceived is distinct from the objective reality, our mind accepts it as real.
Every organism, man as well as animal, lives in its own subjective spatiotemporal world that semiotic philosophers call ‘Umwelt’ (from the German Umwelt, ‘surrounding world’, or ‘life-world’). According to the biologist Jakob J. von Uexküll, organisms and their life-world shape each other in a functional loop (see fig. below): interactions between the subject and the outer world, mediated through the sense and effect organs, determine the world framework of the subject. Thus, a particular stimulus which has a perceptive cue or meaning to the subject induces always a purposeful reaction.
I am working on a new two-dimensional variant of the Müller-Lyer illusion… You may be surprised to know that the Müller-Lyer illusion isn’t only linear: it involves plane geometry too! In fig. A shown below, the ends of the blue and red collinear segments, arranged in a radial fashion around a central point, delimit two perfectly concentric circles. However, for most observers, they seem instead to define a large ovoid that circumscribes another one, slightly eccentric (Fig. B). This comes from the fact that the red segments seem to stretch towards the lower part of the figure, while the blue segments seem to stretch towards the upper part of the same. As you can see, in this variant comes also into play the “neon color spreading” effect. In fact, a bluish inner oval-like shape appears within the black arrow heads (Fig. A), though the background is uniformly white.
Using a cell-culture dish filled with a nutrient broth commonly used in labs, Tasha Sturm, a microbiology tech at Cabrillo College in California, gently stamped her 8-year-old’s hand on the plate. She then incubated the petri dish at body temperature and 2 days later, the bacteria and yeast that were transferred to the dish had built a blooming colony (see featured photo above). Continue Reading →
This Roman artifact is thought to be the forerunner of the magic lantern. In fact, by placing the flame of a candle (or a lantern) behind the elliptic lens, it was possible, according to Flavius Russus, to cast on a white wall the image/portrait painted on the lens, like the same principle as modern slide projectors. Continue Reading →