Connecticut College News
Students' visual illusions challenge perceptions04/28/2014
This "Camel Spiral Illusion" by Katie Burke '16 appears to show one continuous spiral. In fact, the image is a series of layered concentric circles.
Illusions trick us into seeing something we don’t. They toy with our perceptions and deceive our realities. They can also help us understand how our brains work.
That’s why neuroscience professor Joseph Schroeder challenged the students in his “Sensation and Perception” course to create their own visual illusions. Drawing on what they learned in the course about sensory mechanisms and higher order processing of visual information, the students created a series of 34 brain-teasing drawings, images and animations.
The class collaborated with art professor Pamela Marks’s “Color Theory” class for a discussion about the perception of color, and the art students helped evaluate the psychology students’ illusions. Schroeder and Marks hope to expand on the cross-disciplinary collaboration next year.
Students in both classes voted on their favorite illusions, with the winners receiving extra credit in the class.
The winners were:
- Illusion 8, “Scanimation” by Brian Mullen ’15
- Illusion 24, “Wave” by Sarah Bunting ’15
- Illusion 1, “Hidden Picture Illusion” by Alexis Adams-Clark ’15
- Illusion 18, “Intangible” by Max Richards ’14
- Illusion 9, “Camel Spiral Illusion” by Katie Burke ’16