I have created and researched several optical illusions, and helped stage several illusion based exhibitions and adverts.
Quirkology: Most of my work in this area has involved creating novel forms of illusions for my Quirkology YouTube Channel. For example, here is a short video that plays with the concept of perspective and assumptions.
And here is another item that plays with optics.
A new chair illusion: The Beuchet chair illusion was created by psychologist Jean Beuchet in the 1960s, and is used all over the world to make people appear to be tiny.
The illusion involves building a large chair back and seat, and a carefully crafted chair base. A few years ago, I realised that the same effect could be created with a small cut out of a chair and a piece of cloth!
Here is my chair in action and a reveal showing the size of the chair. It took a huge amount of time to create just the right shape of chair, but the illusion works well, can be made for just a few pounds, and is ultra-portable.
And here I am using the illusion whilst being interviewed about the exhibition on STV news…
This work was reported in:
And now for something completely different: Psychologists have long researched a curious perceptual phenomena known as ‘inattentional blindness’. During this phenomena, people fail to perceive something obvious because their attention is engaged elsewhere, with perhaps the best-known contemporary example being the ‘basketball’ video.
A few years ago, I noted that a striking example of the phenomenon appears in the British comedy series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” In one sketch, viewers watch a conversation between two soldiers, and fail to see several other characters dressed in highly incongruous costumes, including that of a nun wearing a large white hat, a sheikh, a Greek Orthodox priest, a Viking and a topless man wearing a vibrant blue “Hawaiian” skirt.
Our work involved carrying out several studies to examine some of the factors that case viewers to experience inattention blindness.
This work was carried out with Prof Caroline Watt (Edinburgh University) is reported in:
Wiseman, R. & Watt, C. (2015). And now for something completely different: Inattentional blindness in a Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch. i-Perception, 6(1), 38-40. Click here.