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Illusion Chasers

Illusion Chasers

Illusions, Delusions, and Everyday Deceptions

Victorian Illusions

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. ...

October 19, 2015 — Stephen L. Macknik

Dali's reinterpretation of Rembrandt's Self-Portrait

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...

August 13, 2015 — Susana Martinez-Conde

Another da Vinci Smile Has Been Discovered

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...

August 9, 2015 — Stephen L. Macknik

The Neural Seat of the Thatcher Face Illusion

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. ...

July 24, 2015 — Susana Martinez-Conde

The Long-Lasting Effects of Nazi Indoctrination

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...

July 12, 2015 — Susana Martinez-Conde

What Makes Magic Funny?

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...

June 20, 2015 — Susana Martinez-Conde

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