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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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The Enigmatic Enigma Illusion

The Enigmatic Enigma Illusion

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

Kai Hamburger

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.003.0067

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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