Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox.   SUBSCRIBE
The Kid Should See This

Three visual tricks that can mislead your brain

Watch more with these video collections:

What colors are the two buttons on the poster? Which paper cup has the hidden jelly bean? And how is that paper creature following you as you move?

Explore these classic visual tricks of the mind with mathematician Lily Serna in this clip from the Australian documentary series Catalyst – Magic And The Brain: The Science Of Illusion.

two buttons
But why do these misperceptions and illusions happen? How can our visual observations mislead us? Serna talks with psychology Professor Branka Spehar and cognitive science Professor Mark Williams to better understand how our brains try (and sometimes fail) to properly translate the visual information around them, as well as how gaps in those perceptions can be exploited.

Here’s the second trick, Jellybean in a Cup, in a separate video. Can you follow it from start to finish?

More information, courtesy of PBS NOVA:

“…our brains don’t process everything our eyes see. The illusion that we’re always seeing everything all the time is such a powerful part of who we are,’ says Stephen Goldinger, a psychologist at Arizona State University… Although we feel like we see everything, he says, we only see snapshots of the world around us. ‘Our brains are remarkably adept at filling in the background.’”

moving 'dinosaur'
moving 'dinosaur'
Watch this next: How to make the Amazing T-Rex Illusion. (This one includes links to DIY templates that don’t have dog-like ears.)

Plus, more illusions on TKSST, including:
• Can you see all 12 of these dots at once?
The footstep illusion & more optical tricks
10 easy & amazing paper stunts
• How to draw a floating / levitating cube
Ambiguous Cylinder Illusion by Kokichi Sugihara
Professor Kokichi Sugihara creates his mind-blowing illusions with math
Quirkology’s 10 Amazing Optical Illusions (and how to make them)

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.