Published: 12 June 2015

Vote for Liverpool Psychologist in the Best Illusion of the Year Contest

The trophies for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize in the `Best Illusion of the Year' competition

Dr Marco Bertamini, a Reader in Psychological Sciences, is one of the finalists in this year’s Best Illusion of the Year Contest, an annual online event, hosted by the Neural Correlate Society.

The contest features ten novel illusions selected by an international judging panel. Members of the public are then asked to vote for their favourite illusion among the 10 finalists.

Dr Bertamini’s entry, `The honeycomb illusion’, explores how people see a texture that extends in front of them.

He said: “The honeycomb illusion is best viewed on a reasonably large screen. It shows small segments (barbs) added to the intersection of a regular grid (honeycomb). They are perfectly visible where you fixate, but everywhere else they disappear. Move your gaze, and now the barbs are visible in a new location, and no longer where you were fixating a moment ago.”

To view Dr Bertamini’s illusion and to vote in the Best Illusion of the Year Contest you need to visit the website here: before midnight on 12 June 2015.

The competition, which is expected to attract a vast worldwide audience, aims to encourage people to reflect on the wonderful complexity of vision.

Dr Bertamini, whose research explores many aspects of visual perception, added: “The greatest illusion of all is our experience of a continuous, colourful, and high-resolution visual environment all around us despite the limitations of our visual system.

“For instance fine details are not visible in the retinal periphery (off fixation), and yet the world does not appear to quickly fade away from where we fixate. However, visibility does depend on clutter. In the condition of the illusion, the brain fails to integrate detail from successive fixations into a unified representation of the scene, thus providing us with a new insight into this illusion of a continuous visual environment.”

Winners of the competition will be announced online at the competition website.

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