Skip to main content
Illusion Chasers

Illusion Chasers

Illusions, Delusions, and Everyday Deceptions

A Second 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. Magicians are happy to accept the giggles, but are also puzzled by them. Why should magic often induce laughter? 

June 20, 2015 — Susana Martinez-Conde

The Science Ball Where Everybody Wore the Same Dress

Our new column article (with co-author Bevil Conway, of Wellesley College & MIT)—on the topic of The Dress—came out on newsstands in Scientific American: Mind this week. In celebration of our new article, we thought we’d tell you about how the world’s largest vision sciences conference recently celebrated The Dress

June 14, 2015 — Stephen L. Macknik

VOTE NOW for the Best Illusion of the Year--Until Friday, 7 P.M. Only!

Worldwide voting is now open to choose the Best Illusion of the Year, for 24 hours only, until 7 P.M. EDT, June 12. Go to the Best Illusion of the Year Contest Web site and choose your favorite illusion from the Top 10 finalists! If you miss it, you'll have to wait a whole year for the next vote!

June 11, 2015 — Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik

Countdown to the World's 11th Annual Best Illusion of the Year Contest!

This Thursday and Friday is the launch of this year's Best Illusion of the Year Contest, hosted by the Neural Correlate Society, is now an annual online event, in which anybody with an internet connection (that means YOU!) can vote to pick the Top 3 Winners from the current Top 10 List.   

June 7, 2015 — Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik

Blog Index

Illusion ChasersIllusions, Delusions, and Everyday Deceptions

Stay Ahead of the Curve

50% Off for Back to School