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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 September 2021

The Ames Window Illusion and Its Variations

The Ames Window Illusion and Its Variations

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

Marcel de Heer

Thomas V. Papathomas

Oxford University Press

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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