- On Exhibit
- Offering Format: Permanent Exhibit
- Blue Wing, Level 2
- Free with Exhibit Halls admission; purchase online
- Learn more about field trip reservations
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Seeing is an important means of understanding, but vision (and other senses) can be full of deceptive tricks.
Encounter dozens of examples of images that, on closer examination, are not what they appear to be at first glance. Lines that look curved are in fact straight; shapes that seem to be different sizes are actually the same.
Hands-on demonstrations allow you to "take apart" illusions; observe black-and-white patterns that reveal colors when you spin them; turn random patterns into spirals and circles when you overlay them; and see still images that appear to blink, and pictures that vanish and then reappear.
There are also two dozen reproductions of paintings and drawings by artists who use perceptual tricks to create astonishing images of impossible buildings and ambiguous figures. In addition, four computer stations allow you to delve more deeply into these and other illusions, and help you understand some of their underlying cognitive principles.
Photo © Michael Malyszko