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optical illusion

  1. The Moon is Not Really That Big, Your Brain is Just Teasing You With an Illusion

    Why does the Moon sometimes looks really big? It's not really getting closer to the Earth or growing, threaten to come down here and smash us all, so what gives? Is it a trick of the eyes? This is an illusion. The fine folks at AsapSCIENCE are back on the job to tell us why the moon can sometimes seem to loom so large in the night sky. Or actually, they tell us that there are a couple likely explanations for this not-quite-understood phenomenon.

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  2. Checker Shadow Optical Illusion Will Hurt Your Brain [Video]

    An amazing live-action demonstration of the checker shadow illusion, where colored squares are not quite what they seem. As spooky as watching the colors change before your very eyes, it's got nothing on the actual explanation which shows how this trick is deceptively simple. From the YouTube description:
    [...] within the shadow region the brightness and darkness of the squares are still relative to one another. But they are no longer relative to the squares that lie outside of the shadow. So if you were able to pick up the middle square and move it to one of the outside dark squares, they would be 2 different shades, But the trick is [...] when you move the square you are moving it WITH the shadow still printed on the square.
    That's the last time I ever trust my own eyes. (How-To Geek)

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  3. Creepy Optical Illusion Makes Monstrous Faces [Video]

    It seems that during their research, some students stumbled across an interesting optical illusion they call the Flashed Face Distortion Effect. The abstract for their forthcoming paper describes it thusly:

    We describe a novel face distortion effect resulting from the fast-paced presentation of eye-aligned faces. When cycling through the faces on a computer screen, each face seems to become a caricature of itself and some faces appear highly deformed, even grotesque. The degree of distortion is greatest for faces that deviate from the others in the set on a particular dimension (eg if a person has a large forehead, it looks particularly large).
    It's downright spooky, creating what one Redditor called "Picassos in my peripherals." (via Reddit)

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  4. Paris Town Hall Optical Illusion

    Created by François Abelanet, the anamorphosis work of art is installed outside the Paris town hall. Head on past the break to see the installation from another angle, where the illusion is broken.

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  5. Both of This Girl’s Eyes are Grey

    Hold on to your hats, kids, because what you're looking at is not at all what it seems. In the image above, the girl appears to have one turquoise eye and one grey eye. But if you were to examine the RGB values for each eye, you'd find that they are exactly the same. According to Scientific American, this is because of opponent process:
    The girl’s right eye only looks the same as the turquoise hair clip because of the reddish context. Part of the process of seeing color is that three different kinds of photoreceptors in the eye are tuned to three overlapping families of color: red, green and blue (which are activated by visible light of long, medium and short wavelengths). These signals are then instantaneously compared with signals from nearby regions in the same scene. As the signals are passed along to higher and higher processing centers in the brain, they continue to be compared with larger and larger swaths of the surrounding scene. This “opponent process,” as scientists call it, means that color and brightness are always relative.
    (Scientific American via Neatorama)

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  6. Bigger Brains More Easily Tricked by Optical Illusions

    Dr. Sam Schwarzkopf and his colleagues at University College London created an experiment based on the Ebbinghaus illusion, where two identical circles are placed next to each other, though one is surrounded by larger circles and the other identical circle is surrounded by smaller ones, and asked 30 volunteers to guess which of two circles was larger. Afterward, the researchers scanned the volunteers' brains, and noticed that people with a smaller visual cortex experienced the Ebbinghaus illusion more. Interestingly, the team found that the people with a smaller visual cortex tended to have bigger brains.

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  7. Amazing Floating Cube Optical Illusion

    Nothing short of amazing, what looks to be a floating animated cube at first is quickly revealed to be a tangible structure attached by a little rod.

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  8. Curveballs Are Actually an Optical Illusion

    The common perception of a curveball is that it flies straight after it's thrown, then breaks and curves at some point midway through the air. In actuality, the curveball is curving the whole time, but human perception cannot detect it. Read on after the jump to see a really neat optical illusion and be inundated with science.

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  9. Optical Illusion of Girl Chasing Ball Down Street Is Used to Slow Down Drivers

    In Vancouver, the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation and the safety group Preventable have teamed up and placed an optical illusion of a little girl chasing a ball down the street in an effort to curb reckless driving.

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