See Inside Scientific American Mind Volume 25, Issue 5

These 5 Illusions Turn Ordinary Humans into Superheroes

Superpower your imagination

Chinese artist Liu Bolin uses his body as a canvas to disappear in plain sight. He and his team can spend days preparing for a photo shoot. Bolin has blended into landmarks, bookstores and even a bulldozer with the transformative ease of the Teen Titans shape-shifter Miss Martian, who can control her molecular structure to camouflage in any environment. Our eyes struggle to detect Bolin because his body paint reduces the contrast between the edges of his body and the background, subverting the same principles of lateral inhibition that help us find contours in other images.

Credit: GETTY IMAGES (Liu Bolin in shelving) ; BERND WEISSBROD Getty Images (Bolin inset)

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