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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 Enigmatic Enigma Illusion

The Enigmatic Enigma Illusion

(p.496) Chapter 67 The Enigmatic Enigma Illusion
The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions

Kai Hamburger

Oxford University Press

As a visual illusion, the Enigma illusion is a pattern that in its original version consists of 120 black radial lines on a white background intercepted by three bicolored annuli and a central disk. The main illusory effect in the Enigma (leading to its name) occurs during fixation of the center of the static image. Then, quite intense streaming motion may be perceived on the different annuli. It is characterized by a traveling wave or some subtle motion on the annuli that may not be described in more detail by the observer. Sometimes the observers call it “a feeling of motion”. This perceived (illusory) motion can occur in either direction; clockwise or counterclockwise. This example shows that such illusions are an important means to psychophysically investigate human motion perception and its limits.

Keywords:   Enigma illusion, streaming motion, motion, direction, perception, visual illusion

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