Steel Magnolias is an impressive and beautiful example of illusory motion from brightness modulations. Nothing actually moves in the scene, but the careful arrangement of increases and decreases in luminance of various visual elements results in the perception of magnolia petals and leaves undulating in the wind.
The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Susana Martinez-Conde is a professor of opthalmology, neurology, and physiology and pharmacology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. She is author of the Prisma Prize-winning Sleights of Mind, along with Stephen L. Macknik and Sandra Blakeslee. Their forthcoming book, Champions of Illusion, will be published by Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
MARCOS LAINEZ, COURTESY OF SUNY DOWNSTATE MEDICAL CENTER