Illusion news 6

since June 3, 2007

A pictorial review book of visual illusions has been published! <September 19, 2007>

ニュートンムック別冊 錯視 完全図解

Newton Press (Ed.), A. Kitaoka (Supervisor) (2007) Newton magazine book: Special issue "How is the brain deceived? Perfect demonstration of visual illusions" Tokyo: Newton Press (in Japanese).

A variety of visual illusions, including "Rotating snakes", are fully reviewed with abundant images!

(Published on October 1, 2007; Price: 2,415 yen including tax; ISBN 978-4-315-51803-0)

More info


*** We are happy to announce the world's 4th Annual Best Visual Illusion of the Year Contest!!*** The deadline for illusion submissions is February 15th, 2008!

The 2008 contest will be held in Naples, Florida (Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts, on Sunday, May 11th, 2008, during the week 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.

The 2007 annual contest, held in Sarasota, Florida, was a huge success, which drew numerous accolades from attendees as well as international media coverage, as well as over *** ONE MILLION*** website hits from viewers all over the world. The First, Second and Third Prize winners were Frederick Kingdom, Ali Yoonessi and Elena Gheorghiu (McGill University, Canada), Pietro Guardini and Luciano Gamberini (University of Padova, Italy), and Arthur Shapiro and Emily Knight (Bucknell University, USA). To see the illusions, photo galleries and other highlights from the 2007 contest, go to
Visual Illusion Contestants are invited to submit novel visual or multimodal illusions (unpublished, or published no earlier than 2007) in standard image, movie or html formats. 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!

The renowned sculptor and artist, Guido Moretti, has created three amazing works of art to serve as trophies for the TOP THREE winners!
See the trophies at:

Illusions submitted to previous editions of the contest can be re-submitted to the 2008 contest, as 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. No illusions will be posted on the illusion contest's website without the creators' explicit permission. 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 ( until February 15, 2008. 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!

On behalf of the Neural Correlate Society: Susana Martinez-Conde (Illusion Contest Coordinator)

Neural Correlate Society Executive Committee: Jose-Manuel Alonso, Stephen
Macknik, Luis Martinez, Xoana Troncoso, Peter Tse

<September 8, 2007>

The Ebbinghaus illusion may be Ebbinghaus' illusion!

<August 25, 2007>

Wundt (1898, Fig. 49) cited this image as Ebbinghaus' figure. Kitaoka (2005), however, inferred that the first scholar who produced this illusion (= Ebbinghaus size illusion, Ebbinghaus areal illusion, Titchener illusion, Titchener circle, etc.) might be in fact Lipps, since the figure is found (without reference) in a monograph by Lipps (1897, p. 222), a year before Wundt's monograph and also earlier than the textbooks by Ebbinghaus (1902) or Titchener (1901). Recently, Walter H. Ehrenstein, University of Dortmund, found that Thiéry showed this image with explicit reference to Ebbinghaus even earlier (Thiéry, 1896, pp. 84-85; Figs. 51A and 51B). Thus, it is strongly suggested that the above figure has indeed originated with Ebbinghaus as had been suggested before by Ehrenstein & Hamada (1995, p. 158), based on Wundt’s (1898) account. Below is Walter's opinion:

So I think, it is Ebbinghaus who first designed it and may have communicated his figure at a congress before 1896 (rather than publish it, although this might be still the case, at that time the scientific world was quite small and people knew the work of each other even without explicit reference).

Ebbinghaus, H. (1902) Grundzüge der Psychologie. Leipzig: Veit.
Ehrenstein, W.H. and Hamada, J. (1995) Structural factors of size contrast in the Ebbinghaus illusion. Japanese Psychological Research, 37, 158-169.
Kitaoka, A. (2005) Geometrical illusions. In Goto, T. and Tanaka, H. (Eds.), Handbook of the Science of Visual Illusion, Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press (pp. 56-77).
Lipps, T. (1897) Raumästhetik und geometrisch-optische Täuschungen. Leipzig: Barth.

Thiéry, A. (1896) Über geometrisch-optische Täuschungen, Schluss. Philosophische Studien, 12, 67-126.
Titchener, E. B. (1901) Experimental Psychology: A Manual of Laboratory Practice, Volume I. New York: Macmillan.
Wundt, W. (1898) Die geometrisch-optischen Tãuschungen. Abhandlungen der Mathematisch-Physischen Classe der Sächsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, Leipzig, 24, 53-178.

One of my works "Rollers" was shown in an article in Scientific American! <August 4, 2007>

Martinez-Conde, S. and Macknik, S. L. (2007) Windows on the mind. Scientific American, 297 (2), 56-63. (p.59)

My new book "Trick Eyes Design" has been published! <August 3, 2007>

Info Rubber pencil illusion

Thaler, L. and Todd, J. T. (2006) The rubber pencil illusion [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 6 (6): 634.

Suzuki, K. (2002) The rubber pencil illusion. IAEA proceedings, 105-108.

Pomerantz, J. R. (1983) The rubber pencil illusion. Perception & Psychophysics, 33, 365-368.

Copyright Akiyoshi .Kitaoka 2007 (July 12)

Thanks to Jim <July 12, 2007>

related article

Our new paper is forthcoming! <July 2, 2007>

Fujimoto and Yagi (2007) reported that the backscroll illusion occus in far visual periphery. <July 2, 2007>

Fujimoto, K., & Yagi, A. (2007). Backscroll illusion in far peripheral vision. Journal of Vision, 7(8):16, 1-7.

My latest book "Trick Eyes Design" has been published! <June 21, 2007>

Oxford University Press has sent me ten copies of "Basic Vision", an enjoyable textbook on vision, the cover of which shows "Rotating snakes". Thank you! <June 19, 2007>

A great book of Gestalt psychology edited by the late Professor Kaoru Noguchi (775 pages)has been published! <June 19, 2007>

which includes:

Kitaoka, A. (2007) Gestalt and aesthetics of visual illusion. In K. Noguchi (Ed.), Psychology of Beauty and Kansei: New Horizons of Gestalt Perception, Tokyo: Nihon University College of Humanities and Sciences, pp. 681-688 (with color-printed pages pp. 7-11). 

Kaoru Noguchi (Ed.) Psychology of Beauty and Kansei: New Horizons of Gestalt Perception (published in June 2007)

I have put six illusion images in Visiome. <June 3, 2007>

by RIKEN Institute

Professor Ichiro Fujita, a neuroscientist in Osaka University, has published an excellent book (in Japanese) about the brain and mind. <June 3, 2007>


The right book is Akiyoshi's.

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)

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