The study, led by Martinez-Conde's laboratory, explores the neural bases of illusory motion in Akiyoshi Kitaoka's striking visual illusion, known as the "Rotating Snakes." Kitaoka is a Japanese psychology professor who specializes in visual illusions of geometric shapes and motion illusions.
The study shows that tiny eye movements and blinking can make a geometric drawing of "snakes" appear to dance. The results help explain the mystery of how the Rotating Snakes illusion tricks the brain.
"Visual illusions demonstrate the ways in which the brain creates a mental representation that differs from the physical world," says Martinez-Conde. "By studying illusions, we can learn the mechanisms by which the brain constructs our conscious experience of the world."