Scintillating Starburst: Seeing rays that aren’t there…

This is one of my oldest illusions I created in the 90s. In the picture you may see ghostlike dark radial beams. This illusion is a variant of the Herman’s scintillating grid illusion. I designed this illusion just by turning 45 degrees the Herman grid and then by applying a polar transformation.

From my book “Eye Tricks“, 2001-2007.
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Dynamic Müller-Lyer Illusion

Prize illusion sarcone

I am very proud that my “Dynamic Müller-Lyer Illusion” won the third prize as best illusion of the year 2017!

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.

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