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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.
  • Multitasking, pickpockets and hubris

    Watch for Pickpockets! (Ypsilon via Wikimedia Commons)

    One consequence of my laboratory’s collaboration with stage pickpocket Apollo Robbins is that I am often asked for strategies to thwart pickpockets in the real world. My usual advice is to avoid multitasking while you’re out and about, especially in the midst of a crowd. I speak not only from my experience as a cognitive researcher, but also as a former victim of pickpocketing.

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    New Science Channel show HACK MY BRAIN—Featuring Scientific American MIND’s Illusion Chasers!


    Todd Sampson is an advertising exec in Australia. An average Joe, who, like the rest of us, wants to be super human. So he’s enlisting scientists all over the world to hack his brain and make him, smarter, faster, and more creative. In our labs we show him a little bit of neuromagic. Come check it out this Friday!

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    The Art of the Brick


    There is an intersection of art, science and engineering in the works of Lego artist Nathan Sawaya, whose “Art of the Brick” traveling show I visited last weekend at the Discovery Times Square Museum in New York (the exhibition closed Sunday).

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    Neuroscience in fiction: “Of a Sweet Slow Dance in the Wake of Temporary Dogs”, by Adam-Troy Castro

    Image source:

    The people of Enysbourg lead merry, fulfilled, blissful lives – nine days out of every ten. On each Tenth Day, the country is ablaze with destruction. Cities are razed, children massacred, every single citizen and visitor to the country experiences unimaginable pain and suffering. But the Day After, peace is restored. All wounds, physical and psychological, are healed. Buildings and roads show no fractures. Families become whole again. Lovers reunite. Memories of the devastation remain, but they do not have the power to do harm.

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    Do Dogs Fall for Magic Tricks?


    Animals can be deceived, but do animals feel wonderment, awe, or sense that they have experienced the impossible?

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    Illusion of the Week: OK Go’s New Illusion Video

    pink paint

    Music videos by the alternative rock band OK Go are nothing if not creative. Their previous video “Here It Goes Again” featuring treadmill dancing was mesmerizing, and their newest video, “The Writing’s on the Wall”, is even more compelling, especially for those of us interested in matters of perception.

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    Dali masterpieces were inspired by Scientific American


    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali was a reader of Scientific American, and created one of his most iconic pieces based on a Scientific American article on face perception.

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    Youngest kids are bigger than their parents think

    Recent research published in Current Biology indicates that human parents are subject to a previously unknown “baby illusion” that makes them misperceive their youngest child as smaller than he or she is, regardless of age.

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    The Winners of the 2014 Best Illusion of the Year Contest


    Expanding and contracting circles, mutating colors, and false image matches dominated the 2014 Best Illusion of the Year Contest, held on May 18th in the TradeWinds Island Grand in St. Petersburg, FL. One thousand perceptual scientists joined artists and the general public to determine the TOP THREE illusion masters from a pre-selected group of TOP TEN finalists, chosen by an international committee of judges. Each winner took home a trophy designed by the acclaimed Italian sculptor Guido Moretti: the trophies are visual illusions themselves.

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    Transcending Our Origins–Violence, Humanity, and the Future


    Attend the ASU Origins Project Great Debate event, Transcending Our Origins–Violence, Humanity, and the Future, either live or by webcast on April 5th.

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