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See Inside The Science of Perception

The Eyes Have It [Preview]

Eye gaze is critically important to social primates such as humans. Maybe that is why illusions involving eyes are so compelling

THE IRIS ILLUSIONbr /> This illusion, by vision scientists Jisien Yang and Adrian Schwaninger of the Visual Cognition Research Group at the University of Zurich, was one of the top 10 finalists in the 2008 Best Illusion of the Year Contest. It shows that context, such as the shape of the eyelids and face, affects the apparent distance between the irises. Consider the pair of Asian faces shown here: the distance between the left eye of the right face and the right eye of the left face seems short. In the Caucasian faces, the separation looks wider. Notice the reconstructions of the eyes and irises below each face: without the context of the face and eyelid shapes, it is clear that the irises are equally spaced. Visit http://illusioncontest.neuralcorrelate.com/2008/yangs-iris-illusion for more details.

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