Saturday, March 13, 2010

Top 3 Types of Illusions

Once in a while we come across some random illusion that may or may not make our day. Illusions draw interest and are often a source of fascination.

They temporarily relieve boredom though too much can be mind-numbing as well.

Illusions occur within all of our five physical senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Of the five, visual illusions are the most common, well-known, and well researched.

An illusion is a distortion of the sensory perception, revealing how the brain normally interprets sensory stimulation. At least scientifically, that is how it is defined. But why dwell on the scientific side when you can just let yourself be awed (or bored) for a moment.

Visual Illusion
There are many types of visual illusions including those that are naturally occurring (mirage and rainbow). Showing samples for each will definitely take more than one posting. Instead, I will cite three that I personally find amusing.

Created by well-renowned Belgium-based chalk artist Julian Beever. His works are created using a projection called anamorphosis. Viewed from the correct angle, his pavement drawings spring to life. Or in this case, sinks to the ground.

See more of Julian Beever's work here.

These static wheels, even though stationary, appear to be slowly rotating. This image is not even an animated GIF.

If you focus on one wheel, that wheel stops while the rest apparently keeps on rotating. If you focus on another, the previous wheel begins to rotate.

This illusion has something to do with eye movement.

Magic Eye refers to stereogram images created using a patented process. Magic Eye images may be easier to see if viewed on paper rather than a computer screen. If possible, print this image and follow these instructions.

See more Magic Eye samples here.

Auditory Illusion
My brother introduced me to this one. At first I never paid attention. How can an audio file be that interesting unless it is a full-length version of the "Hello Garci" tape?

Well, this is not a scandal recording. Rather, an ingenious recording created by a group experimenting on how our ear perceives sound.

Listen to this amazing Virtual Haircut illusion by clicking on the vintage radio image on the right. I must warn you though; you NEED an earphone to appreciate this.

Touch Illusion
There exist very few examples of illusions under this category probably due to the fact that touch sensation is slower than that of vision and hearing.

For demonstration purposes, one can try this:

Immerse one hand in cold water, the other in hot water for about a minute or so. Then immediately place both hands in lukewarm water. The "cold" hand will feel that the lukewarm water is hot while the "hot" hand will feel that it is cold.


  1. Very interesting and I'll wait for your great article update, love so much this post.. :D

  2. this post very interesting, I really like it, and I'll subscribe and bookmark this and wait for your update, thanks so much :D glad to drop my ec here

  3. I have seen all of these. The chalk drawings had been shown on a television special and I thought they were amazing!!!

    By the way, I work as a virtual assistant of The Healthy Moms ( ), the site is fairly new and I thought I would drop by some mom and health related sites to spread the word.

  4. Home Internet Business and GreenLive, are you one and the same? Thanks for dropping by. In case you haven't noticed, I'm very susceptible to flattery :-P

    Nile, J. Beever's chalk arts really are astonishing

  5. Thanks for sharing this. Illusions can be sometime uncool but most of them are appreciated with their incomparable art.

    EC dropping here :D

  6. i love this blog, ill keep coming all the time, nice job buddy!!!!

  7. All I could think of while hearing the Virtual Haircut is how amazing it would be to hear yourself walking through a haunted house or something. You hear your footsteps below you maybe, then a faint moan in the distance, opening of squeaky doors, etc. Actually, it may already be done. I think I will look for that now.
    Thank you for this post! I really enjoyed it.