The following is an excerpt from “Sleights of Minds: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions.” by Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde with Sandra Blakeslee, published by Henry Holt and Co., LLC © 2010 by Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde.
Visual illusions are fascinating. They have both been used by artists and studied by scientists. Read on to learn how art can help science understand the secrets of how we perceive the world around use.
Chapter 3. The Brother who Faked a Dome
Visual Illusions in Art and Science
Vision scientists like us seek to understand how we see, from both a psychological and a biological perspective, and our discipline has a long tradition of studying visual artists such as painters and sculptors. Scientists did not invent the vast majority of visual illusions— painters did. The visual arts often preceded the visual sciences in the discovery of fundamental vision principles, through the application of methodical— although perhaps more intuitive— research techniques.
Likewise, magicians— as the world’s premier artists of attention and awareness— have made their own discoveries. This is what drew us to their footlights, card tables, and street performances. We want magicians to help us understand cognitive illusions in the same way that artists have revealed insights about visual illusions. And in fact visual illusions are a bit like magic tricks on the page. In this chapter we’ll take a brief tour of some of our favorites. [Read more…] about Visual Illusions in Art and Science