Why Can’t Our Brains Figure Out Magic Tricks?

As intellectually mature adults, we know that when we see a magic trick successfully pulled off, it’s not really magic that gets us, but some sort of trick that makes us think we’re seeing something that didn’t––and couldn’t––really happen. Knowing this, though, doesn’t make a magic trick any less entertaining or amazing. So why can’t…

Illusions: Shape From Motion

Note that since the cylinder is clear (we are seeing both sides), it is ambiguous which way the cylinder is spinning. As you stare at it, the cylinder may seem to suddenly change in the direction that it is spinning. This phenomenon is commonly made use of in illusions. When there are two competing interpretations…

Illusions: Anti-images

Before the brain can begin to interpret visual input, light that is focused by the lens of the eye onto the retina must be converted to neural signals that can be relayed to the brain. The retina is actually a small outpouching of brain on the back of the eye that connects directly to a…