Illusion Chasers

Illusion Chasers

Illusions, Delusions, and Everyday Deceptions

Fat Tuesday: Illusory Portion Control


Ed. note: this post appeared previously at Sleights of Mind.

Think that your eyes are bigger than your stomach? Well, actually, yes... they are.

The Portion Size Illusion is a new variant of an old classic illusion called the Ebbinghaus illusion, in which a circle surrounded by smaller circles looks bigger than the same circle surrounded by bigger circles. It shows that, to your visual system, everything is relative.


In the new foodie-friendly recipe, your brain is fricasseed, and your mind is served up on a platter, when the same serving of food appears in different sizes by virtue of the relative size of the plate. Use this illusion at home to make yourself feel like you’re eating like a pig, when in reality you’re just using a smaller bucket.

-- Stephen Macknik

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

Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

Email this Article