Best Visual Illusion of The Year contest is something we’ve been covering for two years in a row. Top 10 submissions of 2008 can be found on the Contest homepage. While this illusion hasn’t made it close to top 3, its surely my favorite this year. Here is the explanation: how do we tell where other people are looking at? Conventional wisdom says the dark parts of their eyes give it away. The Ghostly Gaze optical illusion reveals a more subtle process – from a distance, the two sisters seem to stare at each other. But wait! Using the flash zooming slider, if you bring them closer, they turn their eyes to you! This is not a computer trick.
To convince yourself, set the slider to “Close” and walk away from your computer screen while looking at the image. Notice that when you are sitting in front of the monitor, the sisters are looking at you, but when you are about 3 meters away, they look at each other! The illusion is based on the hybrid image technique, developed by Schyns and Oliva. The Ghostly Gaze illusion shows that details such as the outline of the iris can override larger patches of darkness. Which section should I add this article to? I was thinking of “Multiple Meanings” or “Animations“, but am not exactly sure? To check some of the best optical illusions from 2007 (I don’t share the same opinion), visit this article.