We'll always have time for a new optical illusion. And if it's particularly good, we'll always have time for an old one too. Here's an example that falls squarely into that category – and is currently blowing minds on Twitter.
A clip has resurfaced from 1970s Australian TV hit The Curiosity Show in which the presenter demonstrates an illusion known as the Ames Window. When the 'window' shape is rotated, it appears to oscillate back and forth rather than spinning a full 360 degrees (it's hard to explain – just watch it below). And like all the best optical illusions, it's got pretty much everyone baffled.
this illusion broke my brain 🤯 pic.twitter.com/BvgO2TcwFEJune 14, 2021
Things get even weirder when the host inserts a pen into the shape. The pen appears to spin, but the window structure looks as though it is literally passing through it entirely. Like, you know, magic.
And it seems that five decades later, the illusion has lost none of its bamboozling appeal, with the clip currently having been viewed over 2M times. "REALITY IS A LIE GENERATED BY MY BRAIN," one user exclaims, while another simply adds, "insert sound of brain exploding here".
Ames Window (or Ames Trapezoid) is named after Adelbert Ames Jr, who discovered it in 1947 while studying the concept of 'transactional ambiguity' – obviously. The phenomenon probed that "a viewer's mental expectation or "set" could affect the actual perception of ambiguous stimuli, extending the long-held belief that mental set could affect one's feelings and conclusions about stimuli to the actual visual perception of the stimuli itself" (thanks, Wikipedia (opens in new tab).)