Revolutionizing Perception

“Illusions fascinate people because they create a conflict between perception and reality.”

Join us for a lecture by Professor Arthur Shapiro (Department of Psychology and Computer Science, American University) on visual illusions and the complex processes of human perception.

Revolutionizing Perception 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 1 pm at 228 Battelle-Tompkins Hall


Have you ever seen the Duck-Rabbit illusion? It is an image that people see and interpret differently, sometimes seeing the rabbit, sometimes the duck, sometimes both at the same time. Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein used this image to describe the problem of perception as “seeing that” (“It’s a rabbit”) and “seeing as” (“I see this picture as a rabbit”). In this accessible and fun lecture, Artur Shapiro will explore the difference between what we see and how we understand and interpret what we see, by using examples from his current laboratory research and award winning  visual illusions.



About our speaker

Arthur Shapiro completed his undergraduate work in Mathematics (Computer Science) and Psychology (Cognitive Science) at U.C. San Diego. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University and did post-doctoral research at the University of Chicago in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. He has been interested in illusions ever since his parents first took him to a science museum.  He started producing research related to illusions in 2002, following a sabbatical year at the University of Cambridge. In addition to his research, Shapiro is currently co-editing The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions. In addition to being an academic, Shapiro is also a vision scientist and an internationally acclaimed creator of visual illusions. Many of his illusions have won awards in the “Best Visual Illusion of the Year” contest, sponsored by the Neural Correlate Society. The contest started in 2005, and since then Shapiro’s lab has produced twelve illusions in the top ten, and six illusions in the top three—more than any other researcher or research team.  The National Geographic show Brain Games has featured several of Shapiro’s illusions.




Visit Shapiro’s website to experience some of his illusions. Also, check out The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions:









Here are some great pictures from the event. Click here for the full album.

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