Category Archives: Space

Seeing Straight in Front of You

It is common to talk about the direction of vision, visual direction, or line of sight, and in general where things are located visually. It seems right to say that things seem to be located in a particular visual way to the seeing subject. In addition, there is a particular direction to this appearance, in that some things can be said to be visually off to the side or straight in front of the seeing subject. However, I have problems with deciding what actual or real direction should be used to evaluate this visual appearance. A consequecne of these problems is I can only find bad reasons to hold that a visual appearance of direction is inaccurate.

This is a discussion about vision and space, not vision and time. But I think that what I’m going to say here relates to both. The issues for vision and space are very similar to issues for vision and time. The difference is that, for many theorists, time has a direction in a way that space does not.


Failing to See the Illusion

Every year, there is a competition for who can come up with the best ‘illusion’:

This year’s winner is a dynamic variant of the Ebbinghaus Illusion (by Christopher D. Blair, Gideon P. Caplovitz, and Ryan E.B. Mruczek at University of Nevada Reno):

There are several runners-up including one called ‘A Turn in the Road’ (by Kimberley D. Orsten and James R. Pomerantz, Rice University, Houston):


I can see the dynamic Ebbinghaus effect (although not sure of the difference in seeing it from the side).

However, try as I might I have not been able to see the illusion in the ‘Turn in the Road’.

I don’t see how rearranging the different images alters which one seems to be the odd one out. When the video finishes with an overlap it is unsurprising.

But I think I know what I am supposed to experience. And, perhaps, what is being assumed to be behind this alleged experience.