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Illusion Chasers

Illusion Chasers

Illusions, Delusions, and Everyday Deceptions
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    We are brain researchers who study the brain using illusions and magic—where reality is misaligned to how we see, think and feel – in addition to well-established neuroscience methods. Twitter: @SMartinezConde & @Stephen_Macknik. Web: Follow on Twitter @illusionchasers.
  • Why Julianne Moore and Taylor Swift See That Dress Differently

    RBG Wired image

    I don’t think that the reason people see the dress differently from each other is an interesting brain process. Rather, it is a mundane differences in how people have viewed the image on their electronic display screens (phones, tablets, laptops, etc). So now we know that Taylor Swift and Ellen Degeneres set their phone screens to different brightness levels than Justin Bieber and Julianne Moore. You’re welcome.

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    Why Romantic Illusions Are a Good Thing


    Scientists believe that idealizing one’s partner can work as a self-fulfilling prophecy, where illusion eventually becomes reality. That is to say, people can help to create the partners they wish they had, by exaggerating their virtues and minimizing their faults in their own minds. In such cases, love is not blind but prophetic.

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    Obsession at the Rubin Museum


    The brain region underlying motivation and pleasure are directly interconnected in a loop that we neurophysiologists refer to as a circuit. Whereas activation of this circuit can feel good in normal function, certain drugs, or diseases (like obsessive compulsive disorder; OCD) leave you wanting for more. Much much more.

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    The Neuroscience of Lucid Dreams

    Dreaming of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. (Wikimedia Commons)

    Lucid dreams are perhaps the most bizarre perceptual experience one can have. You are asleep and dreaming, but suddenly you realize that it’s all just a dream. At that point, you can choose to wake up or you can continue to dream on, with one important advantage. You’re now aware that the world around you is completely made up by your brain.

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    A New Reverspective


    One of the very strange effects of reverse perspective is that the images seem to follow you as you pass by them. As if, while you are observing them, the pictures are watching you back. John Kubie of SUNY Downstate Medical Center realized that, in the case of the Hollow Mask illusion, this must have to do with how viewers track the perspective of the nose of the nose with respect to the rest of the face.

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    Out of Mind, Out of Sight: Suppressed Unwanted Memories Are Harder to See


    I realized that I had somehow managed to forget a horrible account of my grandmother’s deathbed. And I immediately wished that I could forget it for a second time. But I knew that the memory was now there to stay. I was wrong.

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    With Black Art, iLuminate Dancers Dazzle Your Brain


    iLuminate mixes dance, light, and computerized timing to create a unique amalgam of illusory perception. Imagine that all the neon in Times Square got together and performed Stomp. iLuminate’s incredible light suits imbue the dancers with seemingly magical powers. They disappear and reappear instantly across the stage. They swap heads with each other. They levitate. It’s like watching real-life Jedis.

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    New Year’s Eve and the Meaning of Life


    Some scientists conclude that even though we age continuously, we ponder the passage of time more at some arbitrary points in our lives than others. This can prompt us to take major –and sometimes irreparable– trajectory changes in our lives. How can we use these imagined milestones to our benefit?

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    A Coursera Course on Visual Perception—Starts January 7th.


    There’s a new 8-week course available on visual perception taught by Dale Purves of Duke University. It’s available for free and starts on January 7th, 2015. Purves’s approach to visual perception is exciting because it’s a bit different than the usual approach.

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    How To Change Your Past


    “Too late” might be the two most tragic words in English, but what if you could rewind the clock? What if the past was not immutable? Would we regret past bad decisions more or less? Would it affect the way that we feel then about our past choices, and the moral decisions that we may face in the future? New research has found out using virtual reality.

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