2012 Best Illusion of the Year Contest

1st prize:   The Disappearing Hand Trick

This multi-sensory illusion uses vision, touch and position sense to create the illusion that the hand has disappeared. The felt positions of the hands are gradually adapted without the participant noticing so that the real locations of the hands end up further outwards than their perceived locations. When the right hand is removed from vision and the participant reaches across to touch it, all they can feel is the empty table. The combined loss of vision and touch creates a powerful illusion that the hand is missing and was designed to simulate loss of awareness in stroke patients.

When you stare directly at the faces, they look normal. But, if you stare at the cross, the faces quickly turn ugly.

Like many interesting scientific discoveries, this one was an accident. An undergraduate student was working on face photographs for an unrelated experiment when he was suddenly shocked by the deformed faces staring back at him.

The distortion comes from the many differences between each face and the one that follows. A particularly tanned face, for example, will make the next face seem pale and squinty eyes will make normal eyes bulge.
2nd prize:   When Pretty Girls Turn Ugly: The Flashed Face Distortion Effect

You’ve seen “Pretty girls turn ugly” now try the celebrity version!

3rd prize:   Color Wagon Wheel


About benvitalis

math grad - Interest: Number theory
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