Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik’s new book of optical and other illusions culled from the Best Illusion of the Year Contest and their own archives is out! And they have given me five copies to give away.
Rather than just being a book of clever examples of our senses being tricked, the book also explains the nueroscience behind the illusions, explaining WHY our brain is fooled.
Some of the illusions are optical in nature like this clever mask illusion. On first glance, most people don’t realise they are looking at two faces rather than one. The mask provides context that suggests one face and so our brain tends to tell us there is only one face.
Other illusions use other senses. If squeeze a pencil between your finger and thumb for sixty seconds and then pick up a marble with those same fingers and thumbs, the marble will feel like a cube. Try it with your eyes closed.
Even the cover of the book is an optical illusion. The longer you stare at the coils of green, black and blue that make up the brain on the front of the book, the more they seem to shift and rotate. Based on Rotating Snakes by Akiyoshi Kitaoka the illusion works because of the automatic movements of our eyes. Notice how whatever part of the illusion you’re staring at doesn’t move? The illusion only seems to work on the edge of your field of vision.
If you’d love a copy of the book, I have five to give away. Visit the Deceptology website and join my mailing list for a chance to win one.
You can hear my excitement for the topic back in 2015 when I interviewed Susana and Stephen on Scamapalooza.
Nicholas J. Johnson is a Melbourne magician, author and expert on scams and deception.