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Illusion Chasers

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We are happy to announce the 10th anniversary edition of world’s Best Illusion of the Year Contest. Submissions are now welcome!


The 2014 contest will be held in St. Petersburg, Florida, at the TradeWinds Island Resorts, on May 19th.

Eligible submissions to compete in the 2014 contest are novel perceptual or cognitive illusions (unpublished, or published no earlier than 2013) of all sensory modalities (visual, auditory, etc.) in standard image, movie or html formats. Exciting new variants of classic or known illusions are admissible. An international panel of impartial judges will rate the submissions and narrow them to the TOP TEN. Then, at the Contest Gala in St. Petersburg, the TOP TEN illusionists will present their contributions and the attendees of the event (that means you!) will vote to pick the TOP THREE WINNERS!

Mac King

The 2014 Contest Gala will be hosted by world-renowned magician Mac King. Mac King is the premiere comedy magician in the world today, with his own family-friendly show, “The Mac King Comedy Magic Show,” at the Harrah’s Las Vegas. He was named “Magician of the Year” by the Magic Castle in Hollywood in 2003, and is a frequent guest and host of television specials.


Illusions submitted to previous editions of the contest can be re-submitted to the 2014 contest, so long as they meet the above requirements and were not among the TOP THREE winners in previous years. Submissions will be held in strict confidence by the panel of judges and the authors/creators will retain full copyright. The TOP TEN illusions will be posted on the illusion contest’s website after the Contest Gala. Illusions not chosen among the TOP TEN will not be disclosed. Participating in to the Best Illusion of the Year Contest does not preclude the illusion authors/creators from also submitting their work for publication elsewhere.

Submissions can be made to Susana Martinez-Conde (Illusion Contest Executive Producer, Neural Correlate Society) via email until February 14, 2014. Illusion submissions should come with a short description of the illusion and its theoretical underpinnings (if known).  Women and underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to participate.

Illusions will be rated according to:

  • Significance to our understanding of the mind and brain
  • Simplicity of the description
  • Sheer beauty
  • Counterintuitive quality
  • Spectacularity

Visit the illusion contest website for further information and to see the illusions, photo galleries and other highlights from the 2013 and previous contests.

Submit your ideas now and take home this prestigious award!

On behalf of the Executive Board of the Neural Correlate Society:

Jose-Manuel Alonso, Stephen Macknik, Susana Martinez-Conde, Luis Martinez, Xoana Troncoso, Peter Tse

Susana Martinez-Conde About the Author: Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik are laboratory directors at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. 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. Al_the_Plumber 9:45 pm 01/6/2014

    I encounter many great illusions in Government and Economics, but I doubt that’s what you have in mind! :)

    Al, The Plumber of the Depths of Lunacy
    Twitter: @Al_the_Plumber

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  2. 2. Al_the_Plumber 9:47 pm 01/6/2014

    P.S. Just as in “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”. Written in 1841, but as appropriate as ever!

    Link to this

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