Image credit: Mary Coffelt, Briena Heller, and Michael McCamy, Martinez-Conde and Macknik Laboratories, Barrow Neurological Institute
If you've ever played with Legos, you know that they're all about straight lines and 90-degree corners. Not in this version of Akiyoshi Kitaoka's "Bulge" illusion, created by Mary Coffelt, Briena Heller, and Michael McCamy in our laboratories last summer. The strategically placed purple and white M&Ms distort your perception of the Lego checkerboard, making it bulge out.
To see the illusion disappear with a single breath, watch this video.
Read more about shape distortion illusions and their neural bases in our Illusions column
The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik are laboratory directors at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. They serve on Scientific American Mind's board of advisers and are authors of Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions, with Sandra Blakeslee, now in paperback (http://sleightsofmind.com). Their forthcoming book, Champions of Illusion, will be published by Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux.