Friday Fun: Optical Illusions

Ah, Friday before Spring Break! And here’s a little fun that’s not of the beach variety.

Optical illusions are fun and interesting, right? Look at the recent furor over “The [infamous] Dress!” Was it black and blue? Was it white and gold? Surely all the attention that got shows that optical illusions are interesting to many people. In the Google Books preview pages of Masters of deception: Escher, Dalí & the artists of optical illusion, you can see several fine examples, including the ‘Boring Figure’ on page 14, in which you can see both a young woman and an old woman. UWW students and staff may borrow this book from other UW campuses by using the free Universal Borrowing service. Requested items arrive in 2-5 weekdays. The book has a foreword (readable at Google Books) by Douglas Hofstadter, who visited our campus to give a talk yesterday.

cover of Endless EnigmaAndersen Library can provide more! Search Research@UWW for terms such as “optical illusions” or “visual perception” to find titles including Mind sights: Original visual illusions, ambiguities, and other anomalies, with a commentary on the play of mind in perception and art (3rd-floor Main Collection, QP495 .S47 1990), The endless enigma: Dalí and the magicians of multiple meaning (3rd-floor Main Collection, N7113.D3 A4 2003), The Perception of illusory contours (3rd-floor Main Collection, BF241 .P435 1987), Seeing is deceiving: The psychology of visual illusions (3rd-floor Main Collection, QP495 .C67), and Magic eye II: Now you see it … (3rd-floor Main Collection, N7430.5 .M243 1994).

If you are away from the Library and did not check out any of these books, try the web site Optical Illusions & Visual Phenomena for 120 examples. The Magic Eye web site also provides an “Image of the Week” along with links to several recent week’s featured images.


Please ask a librarian if you are interested in finding additional materials.

About Barbara

I am a Reference & Instruction librarian, head of that department in Andersen Library, an associate professor, and a member of the General Education Review Committee and Faculty Senate. I've been working at UW-W since July 1, 1990.
This entry was posted in around the world and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Friday Fun: Optical Illusions

  1. Susan Huss-Lederman says:

    Dear Barbara,
    I loved this post and appreciate the links to the Magic Eye and Optical Illusions websites. Alas, I have never been able to “magic eye” ever (neither by book nor website), but I am sure that my students will enjoy seeing these resources. Nevertheless, I easily fall prey to the optical illusions :).

    I love this blog and am a frequent reader. We are so lucky to have such wonderful reference librarians at UWW!


  2. Finally! I thought I was alone in my inability to “see” those Magic Eye images.
    Your bravery in stepping out is an inspiration, Susan!

Comments are closed.