Brain Tricks
April 4th, 2012

Brain Tricks


  1. Stephen Magnet

    1:LOL! 2: I was right on this page as it updated. Woohoo!

  2. Kurofune

    The visual association cortex? Or maybe this wasn’t meant to be literal.

  3. zdman

    I thought they were the same length. Guess that’s why I don’t like religion.

  4. Misanthropic Scott

    Religion is easier to unlearn. Those lines have the problem that our brain is trained to look at buildings and such with right angles. So, we see the top line as a leading edge, i.e. closer to us and the bottom line as a far corner, i.e. farther away. We then correct for the distance and see the bottom as longer.

    People who live in cultures without square cornered buildings actually don’t see this illusion. They correctly see the lines the same length. At least, that’s according to a recent lecture I attended on the brain.

    Of course, weeding out religion from one’s brain is far easier since it is a delusion rather than an illusion. But, one must actually want to think about it logically first. Few want to do so.

    I wonder why.

    Were I to believe in one or more gods, I’d constantly be looking over my shoulder wondering what that sick bastard had in store for me next. As it is, I can comfort myself by simply acknowledging that the universe is neither kind nor cruel. It’s not out to get me. It’s just there.

  5. Kurofune

    @Misanthropic Scott: Nice noting the difference between an illusion and a delusion.

    However, when you’re referring to the ‘carpentered illusions’ with the research spanning from about 1901 to 1978, it’s best taken with a grain of salt. While some of their sample sizes were decent (as great as 180 subjects), the research was often panned for its poor structure (such as Bonte 1962).

    The research suffered from more than just sample size and experimental design: there evidence was also poorly supportive of their hypothesis. Ahuwalia, 1978 included a wide ANOVA study with the majority of his data being P>.05 and only a few showing significant results. Also, his data showed a possibility of difference by gender and a non-monotonically decreasing dependence with age. Finally, the M-L (Müller-Lyer) illusion was shown to exist in nearly all subjects, damaging the theory further.

    TL;DR version: I wouldn’t buy this study. The evidence is too weak.

  6. Kurofune

    Ah crap: *their instead of there, second paragraph of my response…. tupid stypos

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