The Illusion Only Some People Can See

  • Am Vor year

    VeritasiumVeritasium

    Ames window illusion illustrates how we don't directly perceive external reality. Special Holiday deal! Go to NordVPN.com/veritasium and use code VERITASIUM to get 68% off a 2 year plan plus 4 additional months free. It’s risk free with Nord’s 30 day money-back guarantee!

    Special thanks to:
    Prof. Phil Kellman from UCLA Psychology kellmanlab.psych.ucla.edu
    Museum of Illusions in Los Angeles for the use of their Ames Room laillusions.com
    Curiosity Show - Video on Ames Illusion: de-film.com/v-video-DkVOIJAaWO0.html

    References:
    Ames, A., Jr. (1951). Visual perception and the rotating trapezoidal window. Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, 65(7), i-32. doi.org/10.1037/h0093600

    Marcel de Heer & Thomas V. Papathomas (2017) The Ames Window Illusion and Its Variations
    DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.003.0014

    Oross, Stephen, Francis, Ellie, Mauk, Deborah & Fox, Robert. (1987). The Ames Window Illusion: Perception of Illusory Motion by Human Infants. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 13(4), 609-613.

    Behrens, R. (1987). The Life and Unusual Ideas of Adelbert Ames, Jr. Leonardo, 20(3), 273-279. doi:10.2307/1578173

    Burnham, C., & Ono, H. (1969). Variables Altering Perception of the Rotating Trapezoidal Illusion. The American Journal of Psychology, 82(1), 86-95. doi:10.2307/1420609

    Allport, G. W., & Pettigrew, T. F. (1957). Cultural influence on the perception of movement: The trapezoidal illusion among Zulus. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 55(1), 104-113. doi.org/10.1037/h0049372

    Zenhausern R. Effect of Perspective on Two Trapezoid Illusions. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 1969;28(3):1003-1009. doi:10.2466/pms.1969.28.3.1003

    Gehringer, W. L., & Engel, E. (1986). Effect of ecological viewing conditions on the Ames' distorted room illusion. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 12(2), 181-185. doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.12....

    Long, G.M., Toppino, T.C. Adaptation effects and reversible figures: A comment on Horlitz and O’Leary. Perception & Psychophysics 56, 605-610 (1994). doi.org/10.3758/BF03206956

    Gregory RL. Looking through the Ames window. Perception. 2009;38(12):1739-40. doi: 10.1068/p3812ed. PMID: 20192124.

    Jahoda, G. (1966). Geometric illusions and environment: A study in Ghana. British Journal of Psychology, 57(1-2), 193-199. doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8295.1...

    V. Mary Stewart (1974) A Cross-Cultural Test of the “Carpentered World” Hypothesis Using The Ames Distorted Room Illusion, International Journal of Psychology, 9:2, 79-89, DOI: 10.1080/00207597408247094

    Margaret Kathleen Cappone (1966) The Effect of Verbal Suggestion on the Reversal Rate of the Ames Trapezoid Illusion, The Journal of Psychology, 62:2, 211-219, DOI: 10.1080/00223980.1966.10543786

    Researched and written by Petr Lebedev and Derek Muller
    Filmed by Derek Muller and Raquel Nuno
    Animations, VFX, and Music by Jonny Hyman
    Ames Room VFX and additional Ames Window animation by Nicolas Pratt
    Additional Music from epidemicsound.com "Life in Color" "Singularity"
    Large Ames window construction by GW Construction
    Video supplied by Getty Images

@MakersMuse
@MakersMuse

Dude, the example with the rubix cube absolutely broke me. Even if you try to cheat and look at an edge it still tricks you. The Curiosity Show is a goldmine!

Vor year
@deborahsharrock9934
@deborahsharrock9934

When he was rotating in the window at first, I could only see him rotating and couldn’t figure out what the illusion was. As he explained that it appeared to oscillate, my perception automatically switched to that and now I can’t switch it back 🤯

@vulcanh254
@vulcanh254

This is fascinating and mind boggling. Even knowing what the image looks like, knowing that it's rotating, knowing how the illusion works and why my brain is fooled, I still can't see it any other way. It just seems impossible for my brain to look at it as rotating naturally.

@lawsfreelancemalice1380
@lawsfreelancemalice1380

I’ve experienced a really strong illusion like this in my workshop. Two sheets of circle perforated metal, 8feet by 4feet on top of my bench and when I moved the top sheet across the lower sheet, the circles blended and confused my view so much that I felt like I was briefly falling. The effect was like closely looking at the very edge of a cosmic-sized single piece of perforated metal with a quick side to side view swooshing past my view.

@ozone2322
@ozone2322

I love your mix of scientific, philosofical, strange and fun stuff! And you always sort out the worst tangles so that everyone can get a glimpse at least of how it hangs together! Keep up the good work!

@dragoneye275
@dragoneye275

my favorite part in all of these illusions, is when you manage to see the real thing, and your brain updates your beliefs about the object you're seeing. with the window, for example, when i see the larger side getting away from me instead of getting closer, my brain tells me "btw that side is like super big". and that's extra weird because it gets smaller (in my precpective) as it travels away.

@MofoMan2000
@MofoMan2000

What's even better is when you can consciously "switch" the illusion on and off in your mind. Or essentially see both perspectives at once.

Vor year
@grimtt
@grimtt

Early film makers used these principles to create dynamic scenes, esp since early film cameras weren’t particularly mobile; they had to bring the scene to the camera rather than vice versa. Plus the budget wasn’t high so easier to create a big appearing room using depth of vision tricks that to build an actual large room.

@RobinWarner
@RobinWarner

Great video, really appreciate the commentary toward the end about why it's plausible for two people to "see" the same things and draw very different conclusions from it.

@FloozieOne
@FloozieOne

This was an awesome presentation combining physical objects, perception and movement. The section where you talk about what the "brain sees" vs. what you think you are looking at floored me. The concept that the brain is always deciding, instant by instant, what it thinks you "should" be seeing by making comparisons with known objects and picking the one it thinks fits best is rather disconcerting. Of course I see what I see, oops, that that little lump of matter in my head tells me what to see and what I am seeing is a bit frightening.

@user-sq5ff7mh9p
@user-sq5ff7mh9p

Outstanding. Your closing point is timely, and wow.... relevant. That also made me think about a perplexing mystery (one that you have probably covered). Specifically, the Monty Hall Problem. The fact that it confuses so many people is one thing. The paradox is how absolutely incredibly difficult it is to "teach" someone that the answer is correct. ...especially when in reality, the problem is elementary school mathematics. (Which isn't to say that I understood it without great struggle). My theory has always been that there is something deeply rooted in our minds that expects binary decisions and observations - fight, or flight, light or dark, hot or cold, etc. That is purely speculation, of course. In any event, the study of the "rectangle familiar" reminded me of this. Cheers, and thanks!!

@perstouch40
@perstouch40

“My Brain prefers the illusion, rather than what’s actually happening”......if this isn’t 2020 in a nutshell lol

Vor year
@princeozodinobi4471
@princeozodinobi4471

I don't know if there's a prize or anything, but after one or two tries I was able to see the yrue movement of the Ames rectangle. First with the rubiks cube attached;second with the ruler attached; and finally on its own. I think it helps focusing on one point( in my case the short end) and mapping out its trajectory. So when it's turning around you expect that point to be at a certain place and look for that. And surely your brain sees it at that point as opposed to the illusion. It was really fun exerting my will over my brain. Haha

@icantplaypiano6919
@icantplaypiano6919

Although I wasn't paying attention and didn't realize that the window wasn’t rectangular at first, I could see that the window was rotating when you were in it. I thought the illusion was just because of shading. Thanks for the explanation :)

@100vg
@100vg

This one is very cool! After watching How it works, I can force myself to follow, say the Rubik's Cube, thinner side around and notice that when it's in the back, you can see the cardboard hide parts of and then when in front, appears to float around, but doing so makes my head spin for a good while. Somehow, forcibly canceling the optical illusion stresses my eyes and/or mind in the forehead. It's more like dizziness than a headache, but kind of both.

@davidtrepanier4211
@davidtrepanier4211

It took me a bit to be able to see the rotation, but I was able to get there. Still easier to see the oscillation though. Also I could see which face was an impression, but I have really good depth perception. Enjoyed this video!

@thatwouldbeillogical
@thatwouldbeillogical

So I had an interesting effect with the illusion. It worked well for me when it was a ruler in the window, or the rubik's cube, but when he was in it himself, his arms, legs and head created too many points of reference for my mind to track, and the illusion totally broke down.

@garryheywood1
@garryheywood1

This has gotta be the most disturbing illusion I have ever seen, no matter how hard I try to beat it, it gets me every time.

Vor year
@lesbird1041
@lesbird1041

Oh my god. I grew up on the Curiosity Show. It was wonderful. Perfect for kids that loved science and learning but weren't necessarily engaged by school-taught lessons. Just realised why your channel feels so familiar. Thanks for reminding me to go search for old episodes on the net. After I finish this video, of course.

@anaghasmenon910
@anaghasmenon910

When the trapezoid actually comes to view I perceive the smaller edge is somewhere in the back... with respect to the camera and the longer edge... and then it looks like it is oscillating. It took me all the energy at first to see the rotation but then I realized and told myself that when the trapezoid is seen in its full length, it is actually horizontal to my view and that is where the rotation begins... I started to clearly see the rotation.

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