Color Is a Dance Between Your Brain and the World
When Robbert Dijkgraaf was a little boy, growing up in the Netherlands, he’d play in his home attic after school, often with a friend. It was dark inside except for the light streaming in from one window. One time, they closed the shades so only a sliver of photons could pass through. Robbert, holding […]
Why You Didn’t See It Coming
When scale confounds our perceptions, stories can clarify them.
Why The World Isn’t As It Seems
Take a close look at the floor tiles in the scene below. First, focus your attention on the tile directly below the potted plant, in the shadow of the table. Then, look at the tile to the right, outside of the table. Which of these tiles is brighter? The left one? Wrong. In fact, as […]
The Reality of Color Is Perception
An argument for a new definition of color.
Seeing Electricity, Hearing Magnetism & Other Sensory Feats
For elephants, feet are sensory organs.Martin Harvey, Getty Images It’s pretty obvious that dogs have sharper ears and cats a keener sense of smell than we do. But as powerful these senses are, they are merely keener versions of the ones we humans possess. The animal kingdom also boast some senses that are arguably more […]
The Long, Hard Quest to Create Digital Smells
Of all of the wondrous feats accomplished by Willy Wonka in his candy factory, the most impressive may have been wedging an entire meal into just one unassuming stick of gum: Upon popping it in your mouth and chewing, you’d first taste tomato soup, then roast beef and baked potato, and finally blueberry pie and […]
How Your Brain Gaslights You—for Your Own Good
Nailia Schwarz via Shutterstock Runners can tell you that sometimes the last mile of a run seems to feel dramatically longer than the first. This perceptual distortion isn’t limited to brains addled by exercise—it’s a consistent feature of our minds. When we look at the world, it certainly feels like we’re seeing things as […]
Fooled By Your Own Brain
Don’t be so certain your senses are telling you the truth.
When Bad Things Happen in Slow Motion
Is there more to our experience of time than the foibles of memory?
What Do Blind People Actually See?
To try to understand what it might be like to be blind, think about how it “looks” behind your head.