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Illusion Chasers

Star Wars Day: May the Fourth Be with You

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16-year-old Paul Vermeesch recreate the impossible structures in M.C. Escher’s Relativity–but with a Star Wars theme–in LEGO.

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Illusion Chasers

The Implication of Motion

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To celebrate our new article on implied motion in Scientific American Mind, here’s a terrific movie of a chocolate zoetrope.

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Illusion Chasers

Why Babies (and Perhaps All of Us) Care About Magic

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As adults, we don’t often experience radical violations of our expectations, particularly those that concern core principles of object behavior. One important exception is magic — A magic performance turns our reasonable expectations upside down: objects vanish, levitate and metamorphose. What if each of these violations signals a unique learning opportunity not only to the infant brain but to the adult brain as well? It may be that magic performances are so compelling because we are wired to engage our minds and actions in unexpected situations.

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Illusion Chasers

Eyes Wide Shut: Laurie Simmons’s Gaze Illusions

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The latest project of photographer Laurie Simmons, who has previously portrayed life-like dolls in everyday poses, features live subjects with doll gazes. The models are photographed with their eyes closed, but look all-seeing: their eyelid makeup consists of hyper realistic doll-eye depictions. The mix is not apparent at first sight, even as the uncanny gazes follow the exhibit visitors around the gallery.

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Illusion Chasers

Blind Justice: Biasing Moral Choices With Eye Tracking

From Wikimedia Commons

Scientists have set out to demonstrate a causal relationship–not merely a correlation–between gaze duration and moral decision making.

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Illusion Chasers

Brain Awareness Week in NYC

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This week is Brain Awareness Week 2015! A number of great events are taking place around the world to promote public education of the brain and to support research in neurological and psychiatric diseases. Here in New York City there are dozens of events.

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Illusion Chasers

The Unforeseen Joys of Encapsulating The Present

A treasure trove of the mundane  -- Image from Wikimedia Commons

A recent study shows that underestimating the value of current experiences leads people to make time-inconsistent choices. We fail to document the present, only to wish we had done it, in the future. At the core of this contradiction is the illusion of self-immutability. We are notoriously bad at predicting how we will feel in the future, and we make the mistake of using our current mental state as a heuristic to make projections about our future feelings. Fundamentally, we do not believe that our future selves will be any different from our current selves, despite our whole life histories screaming to the contrary.

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Illusion Chasers

Call for Illusion Submissions: The World’s 11th Annual Best Illusion of the Year Contest

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We are happy to announce the 11th edition of world’s Best Illusion of the Year Contest!! Submissions are now welcome!

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Illusion Chasers

Why Julianne Moore and Taylor Swift See That Dress Differently

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I don’t think that the reason people see the dress differently from each other is an interesting brain process. Rather, it is a mundane differences in how people have viewed the image on their electronic display screens (phones, tablets, laptops, etc). So now we know that Taylor Swift and Ellen Degeneres set their phone screens to different brightness levels than Justin Bieber and Julianne Moore. You’re welcome.

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Illusion Chasers

Why Romantic Illusions Are a Good Thing

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Scientists believe that idealizing one’s partner can work as a self-fulfilling prophecy, where illusion eventually becomes reality. That is to say, people can help to create the partners they wish they had, by exaggerating their virtues and minimizing their faults in their own minds. In such cases, love is not blind but prophetic.

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