Illusion news 14

since July 4, 2010

The Best Illusion of the Year Contest is happy to announce that the TOP TEN illusions have been chosen!!

The Contest Gala will be on Monday, May 9th, 5pm, in the Philharmonic Center of Arts (Naples Fl). The 2011 Contest Gala will be hosted by Peter Thompson! Everybody is invited!!!
Who will the TOP THREE winners be??? That’s up to YOU! The audience will choose them from the current TOP TEN list.
For more details, please visit our webpage:

2011 TOP TEN ILLUSION CONTESTANTS (alphabetical order): To see the illusions themselves… you must come to the CONTEST!!!

“Illusions from rotating rings”, by Stuart Anstis & Patrick Cavanagh

"Grouping by Contrast", by Erica Dixon, Arthur Shapiro & Kai Hamburger

"Fishbone Tactile Illusion", by Nakatani Masashi

“The Exchange of Features, Textures and Faces", by Arthur Shapiro & Gideon Caplovitz

"Silencing awareness of change by background motion", by Jordan Suchow

Title TBA, by Peter Tse, Patrick Cavanagh, David Whitney & Stuart Anstis

“Impossible Illusory Triangle”, by Christopher Tyler

“The more-or-less morphing face illusion”, by Rob van Lier & Arno Koning

“Mask of Love”, by Gianni Sarcone & Marie-Jo Waeber

Title TBA, by Mark Wexler

On behalf of the Neural Correlate Society,
Susana Martinez-Conde (Executive Producer, Best Illusion of the Year Contest)
Neural Correlate Society Executive Committee: Jose-Manuel Alonso, Stephen Macknik, Susana Martinez-Conde, Luis Martinez, Xoana Troncoso, Peter Tse
The Neural Correlate Society is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 non-profit organization, whose mission is to promote the public awareness of vision research.

<April 25, 2011>

***DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND*** --The deadline for the 7th annual Best Illusion of the Year Contest has been extended. The FINAL (no exceptions) submission date is now ***March 1st***!

<February 17, 2011>


*** We are happy to announce the world's 7th annual Best Illusion of the Year Contest!!***
Submissions are now welcome!

The 2011 contest will be held in Naples, Florida (Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts, on Monday, May 9th, 2011, as an official satellite of the Vision Sciences Society (VSS) conference. The Naples Philharmonic Center is an 8-minute walk from the main VSS headquarters hotel in Naples, and is thus central to the VSS conference.

Past contests have been highly successful in drawing public attention to vision research, with over ***FIVE MILLION*** website hits from viewers all over the world, as well as hundreds of international media stories. The First, Second and Third Prize winners at the 20019 contest were Koukichi Sugihara (Meiji Institute for Advanced Study of Mathematical Sciences, Japan), Bart Anderson (University of Sydney, Australia), and Jan Kremlacek (Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic).

To see the illusions, photo galleries and other highlights from the 2010 and previous contests, go to

Eligible submissions are novel perceptual or cognitive illusions (unpublished, or published no earlier than 2010) of all sensory modalities (visual, auditory, etc.) in standard image, movie or html formats. Exciting new variants of classic or known illusions are admissible. An international panel of impartial judges will rate the submissions and narrow them to the TOP TEN. Then, at the Contest Gala in Naples, the TOP TEN illusionists will present their contributions and the attendees of the event (that means you!) will vote to pick the TOP THREE WINNERS!

Illusions submitted to previous editions of the contest can be re-submitted to the 2011 contest, so long as they meet the above requirements and were not among the TOP THREE winners in previous years. Submissions will be held in strict confidence by the panel of judges and the authors/creators will retain full copyright. The TOP TEN illusion will be posted on the illusion contest's website *after* the Contest Gala. Illusions not chosen among the TOP TEN will not be disclosed. As with submitting your work to any scientific conference, participating in to the Best Illusion of the Year Contest does not preclude you from also submitting your work for publication elsewhere.

Submissions can be made to Dr. Susana Martinez-Conde (Illusion Contest Coordinator, Neural Correlate Society) via email (smart <at mark> until February 14, 2010. Illusion submissions should come with a (no more than) one-page description of the illusion and its theoretical underpinnings (if known). Illusions will be rated according to:
. Significance to our understanding of the visual system
. Simplicity of the description  
. Sheer beauty
. Counterintuitive quality
. Spectacularity

Visit the illusion contest website for further information and to see last year's illusions:

Submit your ideas now and take home this prestigious award!


Susana Martinez-Conde, PhD
Illusion Contest Coordinator
President, Neural Correlate Society  

<December 28, 2010>

An academic paper that examined the silhouette illusion has (probably for the first time) been published! <December 22, 2010>

Troje, N. F. and McAdam, M. (2010) The viewing-from-above bias and the silhouette illusion. i-Perception, 1, 143-148.

<Exhibited with creator's permission: September 27, 2010>

Silhouette illusion

Moving reversible figure (lady's figure appears to rotate clockwise or counterclockwise) created by Nobuyuki Kayahara, Hiroshima/Tokyo, Japan

When the lady appears to rotate clockwise seen from above, the right leg as well as the right arm appear to be raised. On the other hand, when the lady appears to rotate counterclockwise seen from above, the left leg and the left arm appear to be raised.

(c) Nobuyuki Kayahara 2003

(through Visiome)

A model paper to explain the "Rotating snakes" illusion has been published.
Idesawa, M. (2010) A Model of Illusory Motion Perception in Still Figures. Optical Review, 17, 557–561.

<December 11, 2010>

"A demonstration of the kebab illusion"

The left edge of the dango is physically aligned with the left edge of the stick, but the former appears to be positioned more rightward than the latter. This phenomenon is called the "kebab illusion" (Watanabe, Matsunaga and Kitaoka, 2010). Professor Eiji Watanabe's page & Kebab illusion by Professor Watanabe

Copyright Akiyoshi Kitaoka 2009 (December 10)

Watanabe, E., Matsunaga, W., and Kitaoka, A. (2010) Motion signals deflect relative positions of moving objects. Vision Research, 50, 2381-2390. new!




<December 10, 2010>

The 2nd Illusion Contest in Japan was held in the Kwansei-Gakuin University, Nishinomiya, Japan. The Top 10 works are exhibited here (sorry in Japanese). <December 1, 2010>

Professor Ramachandran's columns in Scientific American have been translated to Japanese and published as a magazine book entitled "Bessatsu Nikkei Science 174: Chikaku wa maboroshi (Perception is an illusion)". Akiyoshi supervised the editing process. <October 21, 2010>

The illusion image is a basic image of the optimized Fraser-Wilcox illusion, Type I, color-enhanced version (Kitaoka, 2007, shown below).

Click to expand

Click to expand more

This is to notice an international symposium entitled "Experimental aesthetics and vision research" (October 29, 2010) held in the Ritsumeikan University inviting Professor Slobodan Marković from the University of Belgrade. <September 16, 2010>

"Experimental aesthetics and vision research"

Date, time: Friday, October 29th, 13:15-17:00
Venue: (Kinugasa Seminar House (Saionji-kinen-kan), Conference Room 2)

13:15-13:30 Opening remark and brief introduction
Akiyoshi Kitaoka (Ritsumeikan University) and Jasmina Stevanov (Ritsumeikan University)

"Aspects of aesthetic experience"
Slobodan Marković
(University of Belgrade)
His plan is to speak about three general issues: (1) different aspects of aesthetic experience (motivational, cognitive and emotional), (2) difference between aesthetic preference and aesthetic experience and (3) aesthetic experience of different classes of visual objects (paintings, geometric patterns, illusions, everyday objects and natural scenes, film sequences, sport events etc).
14:40-15:00 Coffee break

"Anisotropy in amodal perception"
Midori Takashima
(Nihon University)

"Neural correlates of the aesthetic response investigated by a functional brain imaging"
Hideaki Kawabata
(Keio University)

16:40-17:00 General discussion and closing remark
Akiyoshi Kitaoka (Ritsumeikan University)

A photo of the venue Kinugasa Seminar House (Saionji-kinen-kan). It takes ten minutes to walk from the Ritsumeikan University bus terminal (the lower place in the map shown below) to the venue (the upper place).

Acknowledgements: This symposium is supported by the grant-in-aid "Enhancement of international publication and communication of Ritsumeikan's studies" awarded to Akiyoshi Kitaoka by the Ritsumeikan University

Figure-ground reversible objects in G WIZ

According to Shepard's "Mind Sights" (published in 1980, New York: Freeman; Japanese version published in 1993, Tokyo: Shinyo-sha), this idea was first depicted and shown in 1984 in Stanford Magazine (Winter issue, p.37) by Professor Roger N. Shepard, who is a famous cognitive psychologist and studies e.g. mental rotation. Later, David Parker produced this statue version, which was (has been?) exhibited in Exploratorium. <August 12, 2010>

According to the Exploratorium, this work is called Angel Columns, and it was created by an employee of the Exploratorium named David Barker, and he installed it in either 1983 or 1984. <September 6, 2010> new!

Akiyoshi's new book "Introduction to Visual Illusions" has been published!

<July 5, 2010>

Akiyoshi has a poster presentation in ECVP2010 (EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland) entitled "The Fraser illusion family and the corresponding motion illusions", in the session "Illusion" on Thursday (August 26).

It is demonstrated that the Fraser illusion (Fraser, 1908 British Journal of Psychology 2 307-320), known as one of the classic tilt illusions or as the name of “twisted cords”, is a member of the “Fraser illusion family”, which includes of six types of tilt illusions. In the family, there are two factors to classify the six illusions. One is whether inducers are obliques or “shifted horizontals”. The other is whether inducers are only lines, only edges, or mixture of lines and edges. When inducers are oblique lines, the Fraser illusion appears. When inducers are oblique edges, the image shows the illusion of oblique edges (Kitaoka, 2007 Japanese Psychological Research 49 7-19). When inducers are made up of oblique lines and edges, the “Café Wall Fraser” illusion (Fraser, 1908) is obtained. In contrast, when inducers consist of horizontal lines and edges, the “Fraser Café Wall” illusion (Fraser, 1908) is shown. When inducers are shifted lines, the illusion of shifted lines (Kitaoka, 2007) appears. When inducers are shifted edges, the illusion of shifted edges (Kitaoka, 2007) is observed. A close relationship between this family of geometrical illusions and a series of motion illusions including reversed phi is discussed.


The inset appears to move laterally when the retinal image is moved vertically.

Copyright Aliyoshi Kitaoka 2005 (July 2)

<July 4, 2010>

Illusion news 13 (September 2009 - June 2010)

Illusion news 12 (March 2009 - June 2009)

Illusion news 11 (September 2008 - January 2009)

Illusion news 10 (May 2008 - September 2008)

Illusion news 9 (February 2008 - April 2008)

Illusion news 8 (November 2007 - February 2008)

Illusion news 7 (September 2007 - October 2007)

Illusion news 6 (June 2007 - September 2007)

Illusion news 5 (January 2007 - May 2007)

Illusion news 4 (January 2006 - December 2006)

Illusion news 3 (January 2006 - May 2006)

Illusion news 2 (April 2005 - December 2005)

Illusion news 1 (2002 - March 2005)

Akiyoshi's illusion pages