Who says science isn't fun? Visual illusions, such as the dozens you will find in this special issue, make great eye candy. But they also serve a serious purpose for researchers. How? Illusions push the mysterious and wondrous brain into revealing its secrets.
From the confusing and fragmentary inputs gathered by our senses, our brains create our seemingly fluid conscious perceptions and a sensible narrative of the world around us. Brains do not, however, talk to us about how they perform those impressive tasks. Scientists can learn a lot by using imaging equipment and by making other observations. But sometimes they also have to "trick" brains, the better to probe perception. That's where illusions come in.
The Neuroscience of Illusion
A Perspective on 3-D Visual Illusions
The Neuroscience of Yorick's Ghost and Other Afterimages
Colors Out of Space
What's in a Face?
The Eyes Have It
The Illusions of Love
Art as Visual Research: Kinetic Illusions in Op Art
Sculpting the Impossible: Solid Renditions of Visual Illusions
Food for Thought: Visual Illusions Good Enough to Eat
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