Discover more Perception Deception

Exhibit descriptions

Can you toe the line?
Walk around looping lines on the ground while looking through a pair of special prism glasses. Will your view of the world and sense of balance become skewed?
Theme: Multi-sensory perception
Topic: visual-vestibular/ multi-sensory perception, proprioception

Can temperature cause surprising sensations?
Touch coils that are about 40°C and 20°C and compare the sensations. Do you have the strange perceptual illusion of tingling? Discover how the nervous system controls your body temperature.
Theme: Multi-sensory perception
Topic: tactile/multi-sensory perception, thermal grill illusion, thermoreceptors, nociceptors

Can wire feel like velvet?
Run your hands over strands of wire and have a tactile illusion where you feel like you touching velvet or even jelly. What role does your brain play in creating this illusion? 
Theme: Multi-sensory perception
Topic: tactile/multi-sensory perception, velvet hand illusion

Do you feel a phantom hand?
Work together to create this illusion. Place your hands either side of a vertical mirror and view the reflection of one hand, while your friend brushes or strokes your other hidden hand. What you see and what you feel can be quite confusing.
Theme: Multi-sensory perception
Topic: visual-tactile/ multisensory perception, phantom limb illusion

Do any lines feel longer or shorter?
Close your eyes and feel the raised lines? Do all the lines feel the same length?
Theme: Multi-sensory perception
Topic: tactile/multi-sensory perception, Müller-Lyer illusion, vision impaired illusion

Do you really see what you hear?
How many images flash on the screen? Does the number of beeping sounds equate to the number of images you see or is it just an illusion?
Theme: Multi-sensory perception (multimedia)
Topic: sensory integration, multi-sensory audiovisual illusion, life 

Do your eyes make your body sway?
Can you maintain your balance as you stand close to a swaying black and white striped board? Is it harder if you stand on both feet or just one?
Theme: Multi-sensory perception
Topic: visual-vestibular/ multi-sensory perception, proprioception

Does swapping stereo fool your eyes?
Listen with your eyes open and closed, and swap which ear hears the sound. Can you identify where the sound from the ringing bells comes from?
Theme: Multi-sensory perception
Topic: audio-visual/ multi-sensory perception

What do floaty arms feel like?
Feel your arms float upwards after pushing against two poles for 20 seconds. How does your brain readjust once a constant stimulus is removed?
Theme: Multi-sensory perception
Topic: multi-sensory perception, muscular after effect, Kohnstamm effect

Which shapes feel heavier?
Lift and compare the various shapes? Does texture or size impact how heavy you assume the objects to be? Do you need the same amount of force to lift each of the shapes?
Theme: Multi-sensory perception
Topic: visual-muscular/ multi-sensory perception, size-weight illusion, texture-weight illusion

Are the long lines really tilted?
Can you identify whether the lines are parallel or tilted? Slide one panel over another to create this illusion.
Theme: Visual perception
Topic: visual perception, size constancy, Zöllner illusion

Are you observant?
How much do you miss when watching a video of a colour changing card trick? You might be surprised?
Theme: Visual perception (multimedia)
Topic: visual perception, change blindness

Can you pick up the robot?
Pick up the toy robot floating in mid air. Is the robot real, is it where you think it is or is it a mirage hologram?
Theme: Visual perception
Topic: visual perception, mirage hologram, real image 

Can you saturate your eyes?
Stare at a picture on the screen. What is the after effect when you saturate the receptors in your eyes?
Theme: Visual perception (multimedia)
Topic: visual perception, saturation after image 

Can you see into infinity?
Look into the tunnel embedded in the top of the exhibit. How deep does it burrow into the ground? Reach inside to check your perception.
Theme: Visual perception
Topic: visual perception, depth, stereovision

 
Do you see 3D?
Look through special lenses at 2D images to make them appear 3D. How do these lenses mimic human eyes?
Theme: Visual perception
Topic: visual perception, stereovision, anaglyphs

Do you see bumps or dents?
Look at the images printed on the discs. Does this image change as you spin the disc around? How can the placement of shadows affect how you interpret a picture?
Theme: Visual perception
Topic: visual perception, shape, shading, shadows

Do you see the same yellow?
Choose a ping pong ball in the circle that most closely matches the yellow ball in the centre. Do you choose the same matching pair as your friend?
Theme: Visual perception
Topic: visual perception, trichromatic vision, colour perception, genetic variation

Does brightness change how you see speed?
Test how the background brightness affects your perception of the speed of two images.
Theme: Visual perception (multimedia)
Topic: visual perception, brightness contrast, stepping illusion

Does the grey ring grow darker?
Slide a panel up to change the image and split a printed grey ring in half. Does the ring change to a different shade of grey or does it stay the same?
Theme: Visual perception
Topic: visual perception, brightness contrast, lateral inhibition, Koffka ring illusion

Watch the spinning disc and see things expand!
Stare into the centre of the spinning spiral for 30 seconds and then quickly look at something else in the room. What strange motion effect do you notice?
Theme: Visual perception
Topic: visual perception, motion after effect

What do you see in the mirror?
Place unusual images around either a column-shaped or cone-shaped mirror. Do things now appear more clearly?
Theme: Visual perception
Topic: visual perception, anamorphic images, reflection

Look through this Hyperscope. Look through this Pseudoscope.
Look through special viewing scopes at shapes or people in the room. Will your view of the world change?
Theme: Visual perception
Topic: visual perception, stereovision

Which row of chess pieces if darker?
Are the chess pieces the same shade or different? Discover how your brain compares contrasts and boundaries between objects
Theme: Visual perception
Topic: visual perception, brightness contrast, transparency, illumination

Which way do they turn?
Look closely at the images spinning on the screen in one direction. Do the images change direction or is that just your perception?
Theme: Visual perception (multimedia)
Topic: visual perception, perceptual rivalry, switching brain hemispheres

Can you wipe away a friend’s face?
Create the illusion that you are erasing parts of a friend’s face, leaving their eyes or smiling mouth floating in mid-air. All this illusion needs is a blank wall, a mirror and a friend.
Theme: Visual perception
Topic: visual perception, binocular rivalry, blind spot, peripheral vision

Can words be shaped?
Explore how the sounds of words can influence your perception of things. Compare your choices with others.
Theme: Audio-language perception (multimedia)
Topic: audio-language perception, sound symbolism

Can you fill in the speech gaps?
Listen carefully to the altered conversations. Are they all easy to understand? How does our brain deal with noise, loud or soft sounds and interruptions when listening to others?
Theme: Audio-language perception (multimedia)
Topic: audio-language perception, phonemic restoration

Can you forget what you’ve heard?
Listen to the various audio files and explore how your brain makes sense of what you hear.
Theme: Audio-language perception (multimedia)
Topic: audio-language perception, phonemic restoration

Can you make up a memory?
Read aloud a list of words and then try to remember as many words as you can. Score to see how you go and compare with your friends. Does your brain ever make up a memory or word?
Theme: Audio-language perception
Topic: audio-language perception, memory system

Can you see what I’m saying?
Watch a video of a person speaking, while listening to a synchronised audio track? Does what you see match with what you hear? Guess what the person is saying. Does seeing a person speak influence what you hear?
Theme: Audio-language perception (multimedia)
Topic: audio-language perception, phonemic restoration

Is there a delay in what you say?
Speak into the microphone and hear your own voice being played back on a time delay. Does the amount of delay make it more difficult to talk?
Theme: Audio-language perception (multimedia)
Topic: audio-language perception, delayed speech, ear-mouth feedback.

Are you speedy or slow?
Complete two find-a-word puzzles. Will the images and words affect your performance?
Theme: Social perception (multimedia)
Topic: social perception, priming images and words

Can you be fooled?
Watch a sleight of hand magic trick and guess what happened to the vanishing ball. Did it disappear in mid-air?
Theme: Visual-social perception (multimedia)
Topic: visual-social perception, social cues, misdirection

Can you help me?
Who are you more likely to help? Will the photos of the fictional characters influence your decision?
Theme: Social perception (multimedia)
Topic: social perception, judging faces, neotenous or child-like features

Do people pay attention?
Do you always notice what is happening around you? Watch the video to see if you notice a swap or not?
Theme: Social perception (multimedia)
Topic: social perception, attentional blindness

Can you pick the gender?
Do you perceive a face as more ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ even when the faces appear seemingly identical?
Theme: Social perception (multimedia)
Topic: social perception, gender, judging

Which face if more likeable?
What cues do you rely on when deciding if someone is being friendly or likeable? Arrange five different photos of the same person showing different facial expressions from least to most likeable.
Theme: Social perception (multimedia)
Topic: social perception, judging faces

Which face is ‘normal’?
Are all three faces the same and do they appear ‘normal’ when upside down? Spin the faces around and see if they are all the same.
Theme: Social perception
Topic: social perception, judging faces, Thomson or Thatcher illusion.

Some exhibits may not be available every day.

Perception Deception. Developed by Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre, Canberra.