If you can see the baby in this photo you may be more prone to hallucinations or psychosis


Can you spot the baby in this image? Researchers at the Universities of Cardiff and Cambridge found that volunteers who showed early signs of psychosis were much better at recognizing the baby than a group of people who did not have psychosis.

Can't see the baby? Good for you! See the original photo.


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Audio Illusions

There's more to phonology than just sound. In this video, several audio illusions reveal just how much we hear is influenced by what we see. Read the rest

Audio illusion: understanding gibberish

WHYY's The Pulse radio show visited The Franklin Institute's new exhibition "Your Brain" where chief bioscientist Jayatri Das demonstrated an incredible audio illusion. Read the rest

Illusion of the Year winners

This is the winner of the "2014 Best Illusion of the Year Contest;" below is a description and video of the second and third prize winners.


Christopher D. Blair, Gideon P. Caplovitz, and Ryan E.B. Mruczek University of Nevada Reno, USA, USA The Dynamic Ebbinghaus takes a classic, static size illusion and transforms it into a dynamic, moving display. A central circle, which stays the same size, appears to change size when it is surrounded by a set of circles that grow and shrink over time. Interestingly, this effect is relatively weak when looking directly at a stationary central circle. But if you look away from the central circle or move your eyes, or if the entire stimulus move across the screen, then the illusory effect is surprisingly strong -- at least twice as large as the classic, static Ebbinghaus illusion.


Mark Vergeer, Stuart Anstis, and Rob van Lier University of Leuven, UC San Diego, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

In this visual illusion one colored image can lead to completely different color impressions. The impression depend on the grey scale transparent image that is presented on top of the colored image. The 2 colored images on the left and the right are exactly the same, constructed from a combination of the color profile of the forrest picture and the Manhattan skyline picture. The grey scale image that is presented on top of this colored image reinforces the colors that are congruent with the the gray scale image and inhibits incongruent colors.

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Phase-shifted torsos and impossibly acrobatic legs: the black-and-white tights dance

By Crom, what sorcery is this? These women with their motley tights have backdoored my brain's habitual human-recognition heuristics and keep fooling my eye into seeing impossible acrobatic half-humans with phase-shifted torsos!

Black and White Tights Dance (with "Tanz" lyrics) (via IO9) Read the rest

Video of recursive hand illusions

"Screengrab" by Willie Witte. "None of the visuals are computer generated. All the trickery took place literally in front of the camera." Read the rest

The Exploratorium's Sound Uncovered: A science museum in your hand (for free)

This review also appears on Download the Universe, a group blog reviewing the best (and worst, and just "meh") in science-related ebooks and apps.

When I go to science museums, I like to press the buttons. I'm convinced this is a special joy that you just do not grow out of. Hit the button. See something cool happen. Feel the little reward centers of your brain dance the watusi.

But, as a curmudgeonly grown-up, I also often feel like there is something missing from this experience. There have definitely been times when I've had my button-pushing fun and gotten a few yards away from the exhibit before I've had to stop and think, "Wait, did I just learn anything?"

Science museums are chaotic. They're loud. They're usually full of small children. Your brain is pulled in multiple directions by sights, sounds, and the knowledge that there are about 15 people behind you, all waiting for their turn to press the button, too. In fact, research has shown that adults often avoid science museums (and assume those places aren't "for them") precisely because of those factors. Sound Uncovered is an interactive ebook published by The Exploratorium, the granddaddy of modern science museums. Really more of an app, it's a series of 12 modules that allow you to play with auditory illusions and unfamiliar sounds as you learn about how the human brain interprets what it hears, and how those ear-brain interactions are used for everything from selling cars to making music. Read the rest

Mug appears to be stuck in table

The Treasure Mug is a delightful illusion cup available directly from Japan via Plywood or Amazon JP. (via Spoon & Tamago) Read the rest

The illusory cow

Richard Wiseman found a cow that may have a vase on its face. Or ... maybe ... it has two faces on its face. Is your mind blown yet?

Via Dimitrios Diamantaras

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