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Illusions, Delusions, and Everyday Deceptions
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Illusion of the Week: “U Can’t Parse This” Illusion Dance

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This illusion is remarkably resilient to our best cognitive efforts to assign the correct arms and legs to each of the dancers. Our visual system insists in grouping adjacent body parts by color (and congruent motion).

Susana Martinez-Conde About the Author: Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik are laboratory directors at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. Follow on Twitter @illusionchasers.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. TTLG 2:23 pm 06/21/2013

    It was hard, but do-able, at least for me. I think this is the flip side to the “invisible gorilla” when counting basketball passes. The better a person is at blocking out extraneous data and focusing on the task at hand, the less likely they are to see the gorilla and the more likely to be able to group different colored legs together to one person.

    Many years ago my boss and I were trying to fix a balky piece of equipment when he suddenly left the room. Later I found out that there had been a (rather large) explosion outside. He could not believe that I did not hear it. So I think there are advantages and disadvantages to having one characteristic or the other and a big advantage to having a cooperative society which contains both.

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