The Science of Illusions
Translated by Franklin Philip
Jacques Ninio, an international authority on visual perception, here explores the fascinating world of illusions. His book features a stunning array of illustrations including many images seldom seen in books on the topic. The art ranges from classical illusions inspired by rainbows, mirages, and other oddities of nature; to figures from seventeenth-century physics texts which Ninio himself unearthed; to spectacular new illustrations in which motion is perceived in fixed images. Clearly and engagingly written, the book advances human understanding of phenomena that puzzle our vision or confuse the other senses.
For the nonscientist, illusions show that the senses are unreliable. Ninio demonstrates that paradoxical images and auditory effects are in fact clues that reveal the methods used by the brain to interpret sensory data. He gives examples of the various types of illusions, explains their underlying logic, and shows their value for neurological and physiological research.
Ninio also considers the reasons people have, for centuries, created illusions. He discusses the long history of scientific and philosophical scholarship involving these phenomena and provides insights on their cultural significance. Ninio's richly rewarding book will satisfy professional scientists and readers of popular science alike.