Thanks to everyone who responded to the ‘Supersense’ question yesterday – let’s give it one more day and then look at what we have.

In the meantime, here is another great illusion to help make the day slightly more curious (thanks Stephen). This clip is presented by the ever youthful Richard Gregory, and shows the amazing ‘Ames Window’ in action.

So, right now you have a choice.  You can leave the sound up and hear the explanation to the illusion, or turn the sound down and just enjoy the spectacle.

Which did you do?  Sound up or sound down?  It poses an interesting question – do you find illusions more or less enjoyable when you know the psychology behind them?

34 comments

  1. I watched it without sound first, then turned it on to understand the illusion. I understood the mechanics after watching the video twice with sound.

    So I like illusions best if I can first enjoy the effect and afterwards understand how it was done and my reaction to it.

  2. I always have my sound turned down, so that’s how I watched it first. I like to see the illusions without explanation first and then I want to know how it’s done. I find both enjoyable.

  3. I watched it first with no sound and didn’t see any optical illusion. Watched it again with sound and while listening to the voice I was distracted enough to see the optical illusions.

  4. I’m with Johanna and Jewel;… (not literally, it’s not a party – I’m sat in my front room with my cat) I like to watch it without sound first and just take it in visually, and possibly try and work out how it’s done and then listen to the explanation afterwards.

  5. Can’t seem to see this at all, so will check when I get home – but I will watch it with the sound off, then again with the sound on to find out the explanation (regardless of whether I figure it out or not)…I always like to know the psychology behind things!

  6. I liked the surprise of not knowing the first time (sound down) and then curiosity kicks in and I have to find out hows it’s done the second time (sound up).

  7. As with several others, sound off, then on, having come up with a theoretical explanation. Delighted to report that I got it right.

    A satisfying start to the day.

  8. Sound up – I love to find out how things work. It doesn’t make them any less magical to watch for me. In fact it sometimes makes it seem more so because I am still “fooled” by the effect even though I know how it works!

    1. I watched it sound up first and didn’t understand the explanation either. And I did a specialist research topic unit on visual perception… must not have paid attention!

  9. I’ve seen this one done live. It looked like a window going back and forth until he put an object through it and showed us the actual shape of the window. Amazing tricks your mind plays on you just to get the world to seem normal!

  10. Sound down first – to make sure I could experience it without bias and then try and figure it out myself.
    Then sound up to see if I got it right and whether you can still be fooled when you know the answer or if you can force your brain to see it correctly.

  11. I’m with “Slatty” on this one. I watched it without sound and with sound and I haven’t got a blimmin’ clue how it works.

  12. …. me again. Can someone explain. Is the “window” actually going round in one direction the whole time – i.e., it isn’t changing direction. Is it your brain that makes it think it is changing direction? I think I understand it if the window, in real-life (as opposed to what my eyes are telling me!), is going in the one direction at all times. Can some clever, sciency-type person please put me out of my mysery. Thanks.

  13. I saw this MANY years ago and the presenter also stated that Eskimos who never saw windows also do not ‘see’ the illusion because the illusion in based on our knowledge of what a window is. Is the story true? Probably, but even knowing this I cannot NOT see the illusion.
    I prefer to see the illusion then after not solving it getting the explanation.

  14. Reluctant Mermaid,
    The shape always rotates in the same direction, you can look at the base to see this. All movements not consistent with this are caused by your perception being tricked.

  15. Think I am getting it or got it. Plays a little like “The Dancer Illusion” that you listed a while back, but appears more manipulated.

  16. Both – I like to see the illusion first, maybe try to figure out what was happening.

    Then find out to either confirm my hypothesis, or to give me the answer if I’m totally baffled.

    In this case I got what was going on right, most probably helped by a chapter from “Unweaving the Rainbow” by Richard Dawkins that I’ve not long finished reading, and highly recommend you, dear reader, read too! (Where he talks about face masks).

  17. I like the sound up. As I watch it I want to know how it’s being done instead of just staring at it for a while trying to understand the explanation to the illusion.

  18. I didnt listen at first because, even if I want to know, I want to be amazed as well and you can’t go back once you know (as a magic trick or any stunning stuff).
    Its a bit like the dancing girl when they ask which direction she is turning ?

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