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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

CONTEXTUAL CUES
Contextual cues, such as the position of the face and the head, also influence the perceived direction of gaze. In this illusion created by Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a professor of psychology at Ritsumeikan University in Japan, the girl on the left appears to gaze directly at you, while the girl on the right appears to be looking to her left. In reality, the eyes of both girls are identical. This illusion was first described in 1824 by British chemist and natural philosopher William Hyde Wollaston, who also discovered the elements palladium and rhodium.

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