Hallucinations may arise from both imprecise sensory information and cognitive bias
On the night of June 7, 1525, the German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer dreamt about the Apocalypse. Captivated by the dream’s imagery, he committed it to a watercolor he rushed to paint after he woke...
This week a new article on illusions from the Golden Age, written by Susana Martinez-Conde and me, came out: Scientific American Mind . The Victorian era was a watershed in brain science and the study of illusions and perception served as the cornerstone for the field of Psychology that grew from it. ...
Salvador Dalí always thought of himself as a replacement for his older brother, who had died before the famous painter was born. Dalí’s theory is strengthened by the fact that his older brother had also been named Salvador...
A long lost painting called "La Bella Principessa" reveals the earliest known use of his famous enigmatic smile technique from before the Mona Lisa was painted. The master seemed to intuit that the visual system is blurred in the periphery, and used the illusion to heightened effect in his art...
The Thatcher illusion, discovered 35 years ago by vision scientist Peter Thompson of the University of York in the UK, was essential to current knowledge of face perception. Scientists already knew that faces were difficult to recognize upside down, but the Thatcher illusion went further to demonstrate that the brain does not merely process and store representations of whole faces, but it recognizes isolated facial features such as the mouth and eyes. ...
There is no governmental institution more dedicated to rational thought and fairness than the justice system, but a new study shows that illusory facial perception is clouding the minds of our judges and juries, who can potentially decide to kill people based on their appearance. ...
Is it possible to change public opinions, attitudes, and beliefs, through schooling, advertisement, or any other means? A study published two weeks ago in PNAS shows that Nazi indoctrination of antisemitic attitudes in Germany was extremely effective...
Can the output of the critters in your gut make your world illusory? Yes. And gassy, too.
Many magicians use humor in their shows, both for the entertaining value and as a misdirection tool. But magic audiences not only laugh at the magician’s jokes, but also at the magical effects themselves...
STAFFBehind the scenes at Scientific AmericanRead
Anecdotes from the Archive
Anthropology in Practice
Exploring the human condition.Read
Insights into intelligence, creativity, personality, and well-beingRead
Everything you always wanted to know about raising science-literate kidsRead
Critical views of science in the newsRead
Dark Star Diaries
Explore the science behind the dog in your bedRead
News and research about endangered species from around the worldRead
Eye of the Storm
The Science Behind Extreme WeatherRead
Frontiers for Young Minds
Science by and for kids ages 8-15Read
Commentary invited by editors of Scientific AmericanRead
Climate science in a changing worldRead
Illusions, Delusions, and Everyday DeceptionsRead
Discussion and news about planets, exoplanets, and astrobiologyRead
Opinion, arguments & analyses from guest experts and from the editors of Scientific AmericanRead
Roots of Unity
Mathematics: learning it, doing it, celebrating it.Read
Adventures in the good science of rock-breaking.Read
STAFFIllustrating science since 1845Read
STAFFA science blog, sans blagueRead
The Artful Amoeba
A Blog About the Weird Wonderfulness of Life on EarthRead
Exploring and celebrating diversity in science.Read