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The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions$
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Arthur G. Shapiro and Dejan Todorovic

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199794607

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.001.0001

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The Ames Window Illusion and Its Variations

The Ames Window Illusion and Its Variations

Chapter:
(p.174) Chapter 14 The Ames Window Illusion and Its Variations
Source:
The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions
Author(s):

Marcel de Heer

Thomas V. Papathomas

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.003.0014

This chapter presents a brief history of the Ames window illusion, in which a trapezoid with its long and short sides in a vertical position rotates continuously in the same direction about a vertical axis. It creates the illusion of oscillating back and forth. An explanation is offered that is based on humans’ tendency to perceive a trapezoid as a slanted rectangle; according to this explanation, when the long base of the trapezoid is behind the short base, viewers perceive it to be in front, thus reversing depth and, consequently, reversing the direction of rotation. The chapter tries to see this illusion in a broader perspective and includes many compelling variations of the Ames window illusion.

Keywords:   Ames window, depth, illusion, perspective, rotation

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