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.
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.