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Motion-Induced Blindness
October 5, 2013 4:45 PM   Subscribe

Motion-Induced Blindness plus 105 other Visual Phenomena & Optical Illusions.
posted by Confess, Fletch (28 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's not really working for me, for some reason. Maybe it's because I have trouble fixating on the central dot and also checking to see whether the yellow spots are still visible without moving my eyes, which presumably spoils the illusion. Is it working for anyone else?
posted by Scientist at 5:20 PM on October 5, 2013


This is more impressive than the "rotating snakes" illusion.

The author comments "There is no con­sen­sus as to the ex­pla­na­tion in vi­sion lit­er­a­ture yet." I wonder if it might be as simple as the brain filling in the gaps outside the macula?
posted by swr at 5:23 PM on October 5, 2013


I didn't get the desired result so I cranked the speed up to 50 fps. After 30 seconds the face of Karl Rove appeared, telling me to move to Florida and vote Republican.
posted by jimmythefish at 5:40 PM on October 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


motion-induced blindness: that time in the army when we went down a skihill on a steel bed frame except that it was past end of season and when we hit the mud patch all of us flew off the bed frame and when I got up it took 15 minutes for my eyesight to come back.
posted by furtive at 5:55 PM on October 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


How do these illusions work? ... Ah, I see.
posted by 3FLryan at 6:00 PM on October 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


The yellow dots disappeared and occasionally came back as I watched. All three appear immediately when I blink, though.
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:01 PM on October 5, 2013


Maybe it's because I have trouble fixating on the central dot and also checking to see whether the yellow spots are still visible without moving my eyes

There's no need to check if they are visible. If you can't see them, they're not visible. So either you need to increase the dot size until you can see them when the animation is stopped, or the illusion is, in fact, already working.
posted by howfar at 6:36 PM on October 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well shit, now I just can't see anything.
posted by figurant at 6:45 PM on October 5, 2013


Okay, that was amazing.
posted by smoke at 6:50 PM on October 5, 2013


Huh. The top two disappeared for me, but the bottom one didn't.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:55 PM on October 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


A related illusion does something funky for me. I don't initially notice the hue of the dots in orbit changing, but when I do begin to notice that the colors are changing, all of the dots of one particular color disappear, much like the yellow dots in the main link!
posted by infinitewindow at 7:09 PM on October 5, 2013


Damn. I need some nanotubes or something in my optic nerve to correct this.
posted by planetesimal at 7:16 PM on October 5, 2013


Well, this one will melt reality around you. Jesus.
posted by lattiboy at 7:50 PM on October 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Totally doesn't work when you're staggeringly drunk. According to a friend.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:53 PM on October 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Check out this motion-induced blindness and these FPPs that also link to michaelbach.de.
posted by Nomyte at 9:02 PM on October 5, 2013


Well, this one will melt reality around you. Jesus.

And here I thought you were going to link to the Langford Death Parrot.
posted by CrystalDave at 9:12 PM on October 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ok, tell me this one doesn't piss you right off.
posted by vapidave at 9:41 PM on October 5, 2013


The motion induced blindness one is a little weird for me - First just one dot disappears than BAM! the other two are gone too.
posted by Samizdata at 10:56 PM on October 5, 2013


lattiboy: "Well, this one will melt reality around you. Jesus."

Yes, Master Hypnotoad, what can this one do for you?

Seriously had to pull myself away from that one...
posted by Samizdata at 10:58 PM on October 5, 2013


vapidave: "Ok, tell me this one doesn't piss you right off"

The explanation is logical, except I don't understand why my eyes figure the one on the left is the correct one, and makes me think the one on the right is leaning to the right. Is this just my own political bias?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:19 PM on October 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you find hese effects interesting, you should read the science fiction novel Blindsight by Peter Watts. I can't recommend it strongly enough.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:54 AM on October 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Hooray! I found this link sometime around 2002 and thought I'd lost it forever. Thanks!
posted by lipsum at 1:44 AM on October 6, 2013


Oh come on, there's no way this one is any kind of illusion. She's clearly rotating counter-clockwise, and there's no "illusion about i--"

< looks away for a second, looks back >

I meant to say, she is obviously rotating CLOCKWISE.

Yeah.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:32 AM on October 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


My favorites so far are the breathing square and stepping feet illusions. I also played with the motion binding lines/diamond one. If you play with the slider, you can locate a transition point where your perception switches suddenly, which is (to me) similarly slightly disturbing as the shift of the breathing square.

The linked motion blinding illusion worked for me, though irregularly. Generally, the top left would easily and repeatedly disappear for me, while the other two rarely did ... but when they did, they sometimes would disappear together.

I prefer to refer to these kinds of illusions as perceptual illusions, to distinguish them from illusions which are, in fact optical in nature (such as heat shimmer/reflection) — the blanket term optical illusion in my opinion implies something external, not perceptual, so I prefer to emphasize the perceptual nature of this sort of illusion. Of course, most of what we're interested in are the perceptual illusions; but the some of the most commonly encountered, such as heat shimmer, are not perceptual.

You might not think that the distinction need be made explicit — but then you never had a long, long, frustrating argument with my grandmother about the nature of the "moon on the horizon" illusion.

That one is particularly frustrating in general because false, folk science explains it as an optical magnification even though it's perceptual. If someone doesn't understand the distinction between perceptual and optical — or, perhaps, as a practical matter, they don't have the terminology to make the distinction — the nature of the horizon illusion can be very difficult to explain.

I've had a long layperson's interest in vision, particularly color vision but really vision in general. The core idea of my interest, the purpose for which all the various particular interests about vision serve, is the comprehensive and complex synthetic nature of vision that we experience, nevertheless, as a nearly direct and faithful apprehension of objective reality. These illusions point to neurological functions that do so much work in making sense of the raw data that reaches the back of our eyes. That data is more sparse and unreliable than we think it is because our neurology does such a marvelous job of making sense of it.

And it makes sense of it in ways that have a whole bunch of built-in "knowledge" of the environment in which we see. A nice example of this on his site is biological motion, and this demo from the biological motion lab explores this further.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:21 AM on October 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I meant to say, she is obviously rotating CLOCKWISE. "

In his discussion, he mentioned a visitor that had reported being able to "defusion" his parallax vision into two silhouettes, which he then was able to perceive rotating in opposite directions. I worked a while at this and achieved it twice — I found that concentrating my attention between the two figures and imagining their rotations as interlocking gears would encourage it. But it was fragile and each time lasted only about five or so seconds. But it was pretty neat!
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:35 AM on October 6, 2013


or, perhaps, as a practical matter, they don't have the terminology to make the distinction

"It doesn't actually look bigger, it just looks that way."
posted by stebulus at 6:08 AM on October 6, 2013


I actually encounter Motion Aftereffect in my work. One of the borehole surveys we do involves slowing pulling the probe out of the hole while taking readings at regular intervals. There is not a whole lot to do during this survey, so I tend to space out while staring at the cable being reeled up. When I finally look away, whatever I look at will seem to be rotating for a short time as well. It's pretty cool!
posted by jamincan at 7:13 AM on October 6, 2013


How on earth do they *discover* illusions? Do people just spend all day being like "Hey, what if I put some red dots next to some green ones? Hmm, maybe I should put a yellow line in there. Hah, now let's make it rotate! No..., let's try something else. How about a grey grid..."

or is there some heuristic guiding their search? Do they have some hypothesis about how the visual system works, and they're like "let's test this out by making a diamond next to a circle or whatever"?
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 6:48 AM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


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