[visionlist] immunity from illusions (particularly visual illusions)

Chris Sims Chris.Sims at drexel.edu
Wed Feb 15 10:10:05 -05 2017

One related phenomenon that hasn’t been mentioned yet in this thread is the relationship between certain psychopathologies such as schizophrenia and (lack of) susceptibility to certain illusions. This has been something of a hot topic recently in the new field of computational psychiatry. For a general overview, there’s a nice article here,

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/bayesian-reasoning-implicated-some-mental-disorders <https://www.sciencenews.org/article/bayesian-reasoning-implicated-some-mental-disorders>

Just to state the obvious: “diagnosing” your students with mental disorder on the basis of immunity from visual illusions would not be advisable! But it is a fascinating and active area of research.


Chris R. Sims, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Applied Cognitive & Brain Sciences
Department of Psychology
Drexel University
Email: Chris.Sims at drexel.edu
Web: www.pages.drexel.edu/~crs346/
Tel: (215) 553-7170

> On Feb 11, 2017, at 10:08 PM, Dr. Katherine Moore <moorek at arcadia.edu> wrote:
> Dear vision experts, 
> I was hoping some of you could help me out with something that made me curious all of last semester. Last semester was about the fifth time I've taught Sensation & Perception. Even though my classes are small (less than 25 students), each time I teach this course I have a student or two who is unusual in some sensory way -- just one working eye, synesthesia, no sense of smell, blind, prosopagnosia, etc. 
> This past semester I had two students who did not experience illusions (out of just 10 students!) One of them truly did not experience any of the illusions. Another did not experience the vast majority of them. We mostly did visual illusions, but among the few auditory illusions we did, these students didn't experience them either. I have no reason to think the students were lying about it--they are very sincere people. And they both had trouble with an assignment that required students to view some new illusions, describe what they saw and what was really happening, and explain the illusion. These two students didn't see what the rest of the class saw, and only saw "what was really happening."
> The illusions spanned the course, which is to say they touched upon many different causes. For example, the Hermann grid variations, including the "disappearing dots" one that went viral this summer/fall were affected, as well as the color constancy and size constancy ones like the checkershadow illusion, Ames room, etc. 
> What do you all know about this, like what the cause could be for this immunity from illusions of many kinds, or individual variation in the experience of illusions? 
> Best,
> Katherine
> Katherine S Moore
> Assistant Professor of Psychology
> Arcadia University
> 450 S. Easton Rd
> Glenside, PA 19038
> Office: Boyer Hall room 128
> Phone: (215) 517-2429
> https://sites.google.com/a/arcadia.edu/amclab/ <https://sites.google.com/a/arcadia.edu/amclab/>_______________________________________________
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