Optical Illusions and the Illusion of Love

How do we fool thee? Let us count the ways--that illusions play with our hearts and minds
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Love Is All Around

Romance is not just a concept for humans and voles. This slide shows that love, and illusions, surround us all.....[ More ]

For Coffee and Tea Lovers

“Yuan yang" is a typical Hong Kong beverage mix of tea and coffee, and also a symbol of marriage and love. Sculptor Tsang Cheung-shing has united both concepts in a beautiful ceramic work, in which tea and coffee poured from two stylish cups meet and kiss each other.....[ More ]

Seven Hearts

Ambiguity and camouflage both make it difficult to understand what you are seeing. In this painting by Jim Warren, seven hearts are hidden in the romantic scenery.....[ More ]

Love and Hate

Even more ambivalent is this mirror-symmetric ambigram of love and hate. Talk about mixed feeling—we hope she brings a mirror on her Valentine’s Day date. There’s even a T-shirt available at .....[ More ]

Love and Amor

Here we see that love and amor are two sides of the same ambiguous object. This sculpture represents an “ambigram.” Judith Bagai, editor of The Enigma , the official journal of The National Puzzlers' League, coined the term by contracting the words "ambiguous" and "anagram" (the original ambigrams were represented by the same word in both directions).....[ More ]

Is Love an Illusion?

Spanish essayist Miguel de Unamuno said, “Love is the child of illusion and the parent of disillusion.” Is this view cynical or biologically based? This series on the neuroscience of illusions highlights that illusions are, by definition, mismatches between physical reality and perception.....[ More ]

Illusory Neon Heart

Notice that the yellow fields inside of the heart appear paler than the fields forming the contour of the heart, which appear to be a darker shade of yellow/orange. Right? Wrong. Actually, all of the yellow fields in the figure are identical.....[ More ]

Illusions That Move the Heart

Your wandering eyes pull at your lover’s heartstrings. In this illusion, the heart appears to move and even pulsate as you look around the image. When your eyes move, they shift the retinal images of the white/black edges in the pattern, activating the motion-sensitive neurons in your visual cortex.....[ More ]

Pop! Goes My Heart

Nothing is more romantic than curling up in front of a fire with your loved one on Valentine’s Day, as you lovingly whisper, “chromostereopsis.” Okay, maybe it’s not as passionate as a sonnet—unless you are a vision scientist.....[ More ]

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