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March 6, 2013 4:49 PM   Subscribe

Cat responds to rotational optical illusion. The illusion in question. But why does it work? Link to the actual paper.
posted by The Whelk (21 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
I used this on bigspaceship1.com
posted by atomicmedia at 4:59 PM on March 6, 2013


I love the little prongs on the sides of the picture that are obviously half-assed snake tongues.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:59 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, my cat also does that to plain 8.5 x 11.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:02 PM on March 6, 2013 [28 favorites]


Not to disagree about what is going on here, but I have seen many a cat do exactly the same thing with a blank piece of paper.
posted by yoink at 5:02 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Not to disagree with yoink, but I have seen many a cat do exactly the same thing with the air.
posted by odinsdream at 5:05 PM on March 6, 2013 [17 favorites]


Fascinating in the concept of how the snakes are being triggered for teh kitteh. Cats are supposed to have a very stable visual system , is it the blinks or does the cat have Microsaccades as well?

Wow. Thanks The Whelk!
posted by djrock3k at 5:05 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


My cat preferred newsprint for this sort of thing.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:22 PM on March 6, 2013


It's all in a day's work for Confuse-A-Cat.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:23 PM on March 6, 2013 [12 favorites]


My cats looked at the paper... then at me... with the "and food is where" look... then walked away. So truly it does bring out their cat behavior as it always is
posted by mrgroweler at 5:49 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I painted this on my window so I could have snakes on a pane.
posted by mule98J at 8:46 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


My cat does that with anything that will crackle or crinkle. It's completely auditory.
posted by dhartung at 10:09 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huh, the "why does it work" article doesn't explain why it happens at all, it just says what triggers it. Obviously we blink and move our eyes around over all types of images, but hardly any produce this kind of effect.

The actual paper mentions two theories: one is that different colors are detected at different speeds, which results in an illusion of motion - and another that says it's due to incorrect compensation for eye movements.

I wonder if you could build a VR type device with a low enough latency that you could actually completely "fix" an image to an eye - such that when the eye moves the image would move just as quickly. Or alternatively you could maybe train people to suppress eye movement with some kind of feedback mechanism (i.e. they hear a tone when they move their eyes) - then you could try testing this illusion by isolating various theories (i.e. compensation or contrast changes)
posted by delmoi at 10:32 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


The snakes do not move for me. Do I have special eyes?
posted by fshgrl at 10:34 PM on March 6, 2013


God, I hate this illusion so much. If I look at it even briefly it makes me nauseous.

I wonder if you could build a VR type device with a low enough latency that you could actually completely "fix" an image to an eye - such that when the eye moves the image would move just as quickly.

This can be done with existing eye trackers and CRT monitors, but a much cheaper, lower-tech, and more reliable solution is to rest the display on the eye itself.

Or alternatively you could maybe train people to suppress eye movement with some kind of feedback mechanism (i.e. they hear a tone when they move their eyes) - then you could try testing this illusion by isolating various theories (i.e. compensation or contrast changes)

Some vision experiments rely on their participants keeping their eyes steady, and yes, they are trained with beeps not to move their eyes. BUT it's really hard (or at least, involves some arbitrariness) to get the sensitivity for this set correctly (how much movement should be necessary to trigger a beep? eye position measurement is subject to noise, and you don't want that triggering beeps)
posted by Jpfed at 11:01 PM on March 6, 2013


The snakes do not move for me. Do I have special eyes?
posted by fshgrl at 1:34 AM


Did you print out the jpg or the gif? Is has to be a gif file.
posted by orme at 2:27 AM on March 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


Who would print out the jpg version of an animated gif? That would be pointless.
posted by empath at 4:43 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


No, you just print it onto flipbook paper. There should be a setting for it on the printer somewhere. I usually try to reuse paper, so I just print 'em onto old Gideon Bibles.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:53 AM on March 7, 2013


delmoi: Huh, the "why does it work" article doesn't explain why it happens at all, it just says what triggers it. Obviously we blink and move our eyes around over all types of images, but hardly any produce this kind of effect.

It was explained to me this way by my team leader:

When you try to see things in the dark you will see shadows move, so don't work at it so hard. Your peripheral vision is better in the dark than your central vision, but it has poorer resolution. If you see something, look off to one side a little and you can make it out better. Keep your eyes moving, and for crying out loud, wake me up before you decide to shoot.

(I suspect the difference in resolution in different part of the eyeball has something to do with the illusion of movement.)
posted by mule98J at 10:04 AM on March 7, 2013


Greg Nog: No, you just print it onto flipbook paper. There should be a setting for it on the printer somewhere. I usually try to reuse paper, so I just print 'em onto old Gideon Bibles.
Just be careful you don't flip them the reverse direction.

.segassem deddebmI
posted by IAmBroom at 1:42 PM on March 7, 2013


Yeah, I don't find the Macknick abstract satisfying for the same reason that delmoi stated.

On the rotating snake illusion page, the creator (A. Kitaoka) links to a paper of his that better explains the mechanism. The summary is that certain luminance gradients (e.g., going from white to grey) trigger motion detectors in the visual system. The direction of the gradients matter a lot.
posted by tickingclock at 9:48 PM on March 7, 2013


Cats and optical illusions: Now with control experiments!
posted by homunculus at 11:34 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


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