The Illusion Only Some Can See

31 דצמ 2020
3 155 816 צפיות

Ames window illusion illustrates how we don't directly perceive external reality. Special Holiday deal! Go to and use code VERITASIUM to get 68% off a 2 year plan plus 4 additional months free. It’s risk free with Nord’s 30 day money-back guarantee!
Special thanks to:
Prof. Phil Kellman from UCLA Psychology
Museum of Illusions in Los Angeles for the use of their Ames Room
Curiosity Show - Video on Ames Illusion:
Ames, A., Jr. (1951). Visual perception and the rotating trapezoidal window. Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, 65(7), i-32.
Marcel de Heer & Thomas V. Papathomas (2017) The Ames Window Illusion and Its Variations
Oross, Stephen, Francis, Ellie, Mauk, Deborah & Fox, Robert. (1987). The Ames Window Illusion: Perception of Illusory Motion by Human Infants. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 13(4), 609-613.
Behrens, R. (1987). The Life and Unusual Ideas of Adelbert Ames, Jr. Leonardo, 20(3), 273-279. doi:10.2307/1578173
Burnham, C., & Ono, H. (1969). Variables Altering Perception of the Rotating Trapezoidal Illusion. The American Journal of Psychology, 82(1), 86-95. doi:10.2307/1420609
Allport, G. W., & Pettigrew, T. F. (1957). Cultural influence on the perception of movement: The trapezoidal illusion among Zulus. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 55(1), 104-113.
Zenhausern R. Effect of Perspective on Two Trapezoid Illusions. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 1969;28(3):1003-1009. doi:10.2466/pms.1969.28.3.1003
Gehringer, W. L., & Engel, E. (1986). Effect of ecological viewing conditions on the Ames' distorted room illusion. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 12(2), 181-185.
Long, G.M., Toppino, T.C. Adaptation effects and reversible figures: A comment on Horlitz and O’Leary. Perception & Psychophysics 56, 605-610 (1994).
Gregory RL. Looking through the Ames window. Perception. 2009;38(12):1739-40. doi: 10.1068/p3812ed. PMID: 20192124.
Jahoda, G. (1966). Geometric illusions and environment: A study in Ghana. British Journal of Psychology, 57(1-2), 193-199.
V. Mary Stewart (1974) A Cross-Cultural Test of the “Carpentered World” Hypothesis Using The Ames Distorted Room Illusion, International Journal of Psychology, 9:2, 79-89, DOI: 10.1080/00207597408247094
Margaret Kathleen Cappone (1966) The Effect of Verbal Suggestion on the Reversal Rate of the Ames Trapezoid Illusion, The Journal of Psychology, 62:2, 211-219, DOI: 10.1080/00223980.1966.10543786
Researched and written by Petr Lebedev and Derek Muller
Filmed by Derek Muller and Raquel Nuno
Animations, VFX, and Music by Jonny Hyman
Ames Room VFX and additional Ames Window animation by Nicolas Pratt
Additional Music from "Life in Color" "Singularity"
Large Ames window construction by GW Construction
Video supplied by Getty Images

  • I see the rotation as well

    WejedahWejedahדקה לפני
  • I see the illusion every time though when you were in the window it didn’t work

    Tyson ZelmerTyson Zelmer29 דקות לפני
  • Are we living in an illusion ?? Or is this world for real.

    Vidit ShrivastavaVidit Shrivastava37 דקות לפני
  • I can track the window doing a rotation if I focus on the upper point of the small side, and trace out the circular path in my mind. Interestingly, this is the only illusion where I have to actively "fight" myself seeing it the wrong way. If for any moment I stop thinking about that path consciously, and just focus on the fact that it's a thing that's spinning, I lose track of it and it goes back to that oscillation.

    Eti the SpiritEti the Spirit46 דקות לפני
  • Great as a guy who can only see with one eye I'm easily fooled... But not always. interesting thing.

    cpt nordbartcpt nordbart49 דקות לפני
  • One of the biggest pieces to this illusion is the way that it's "shadowed" because its shadowed the same on both sides it makes it hard for the brain interpret which way it spins. Hence why the lighting has to be just right. I feel as though the shadow has just as much to do with this illusion as the trapezoidal shape of the object.

    richard mcphersonrichard mcphersonשעה לפני
  • noclip

    SamichisgoodyumSamichisgoodyumשעה לפני
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    Dirk CoffelDirk Coffelשעה לפני
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    Dirk CoffelDirk Coffelשעה לפני
  • I was born legally blind. I have some vision but I can and can't see other things. I wonder if there are ways that this type of thing can be different due to how someone can or can't see something? I think that it would be cool to do some experiments where you take people who have different visual disabilities and have them look at different objects and in different lights. Throw in some things that would use special lenses cut differently to see if you could take that shape and make it look different from someone who has perfect vision? You talked about how a baby that is young can't see something while a baby that is older can see something? It would be interesting to find out if there are different things that can help people who are legally blind to be able to see things better just by using optical illusions? This could help different forms of construction of buildings and streets etc to be designed so people who can't see very well to have the ability to see them and access them better?

    Adam GuymonAdam Guymonשעה לפני
  • @veritasium Your conclusion is the best thing about this video. We should all be scientists of our own views and constantly question and reevaluate and search for alternatives that could broaden our thinking. As soon as we become "convinced" we know something is the moment we should probe, question and look for additional corroborating or contradicting evidence--whether political, personal, religious, or otherwise. The original definition of agnostic as coined by T. H. Huxley is, imo, the most scientific position, and can be applied to more than just a spiritual position: "Agnosticism is of the essence of science, whether ancient or modern. It simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that which he has no scientific grounds for professing to know or believe."

    John MJohn M2 שעות לפני
  • 14:47 "These days a lot of people are getting basically the same fundamental information but coming to very different conclusions about the state of reality" That's why it's so important to at least try to approach the provided information from more than one vantage points.

    Jouni KosonenJouni Kosonen2 שעות לפני
  • It doesn't work for me, when there are two ropes holding it. Only on the rotating table with one support, I am confused.

    Powerful GamingPowerful Gaming2 שעות לפני
  • Thats crazy one day of lookin at the windownext day i see it rotating

    PythonTXPythonTX2 שעות לפני
  • With conscious effort, I was able to perceive the full rotation but it took me a solid full 4 rotations before my brain stopped hurting and started accurately perceiving the fact that it was spinning.

    JennJenn2 שעות לפני
  • If I concentrate really hard, I can force myself to see past the illusion but it takes a ton of effort. This is wild.

    Zombie-ProcessZombie-Process3 שעות לפני
  • It’s not working for me

    Totally normal VideosTotally normal Videos3 שעות לפני
  • It took a little brain power, but I did see past the illusions, still gives a headache though.

    Dailen CarterDailen Carter3 שעות לפני
  • Watched the Curiosity Show when I was young. Dean Hutton demonstrated this illusion. You’ve gone into it deeper. Nice.

    JonJon5 שעות לפני
  • Clearly this is some Time Lord dimensional engineering going on. Are you secretly Gallifreyan?

    DrPengin GuitarDrPengin Guitar7 שעות לפני
  • wth this is bs I only see rotating

    EffyplaysEffyplays7 שעות לפני
    • you must be from circle land

      SamichisgoodyumSamichisgoodyumשעה לפני
  • When the information given to the masses is garbage, people will think garbage is king!

    Michael SeaverMichael Seaver7 שעות לפני
  • Well, You broke physics! Now go to your room.

    Michael SeaverMichael Seaver7 שעות לפני
  • I did it!!!!!!!!

    Mr. G NMr. G N8 שעות לפני
  • You broke my brain with the joke

    cascas10 שעות לפני
  • the best moment is when you finally see what’s going on after staring at it for too long

    sbeccysbeccy11 שעות לפני
  • We just crossed over into the twilight zone.

    Tyler StockdaleTyler Stockdale13 שעות לפני
  • Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.

    Paul MoomeyPaul Moomey14 שעות לפני
  • I will use it in class. In a science and art teacher. :)

    Marcus SvenssonMarcus Svensson14 שעות לפני
  • everyone: woah weird illusion me: doesnt it look like an iron door :)

    Grain 567Grain 56714 שעות לפני
  • Stop it

    Joshua KovacsicsJoshua Kovacsics15 שעות לפני
  • This is best illusion I have ever seen.

    Saqib TantraySaqib Tantray16 שעות לפני
  • The first time i watched it I fell for the trick... but this time (My second time) I can see through it! I think I prefer having my brain fall for it though

    Deadly GolemDeadly Golem16 שעות לפני
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    sdfs sdssdfs sds17 שעות לפני
  • The joke is dreadful but the video rather good 👍

    Rick MasonRick Mason17 שעות לפני
  • For the most part the illusion is hard to look past, but when it is shown from that one scene where the "window" is in the room hanging from the ceiling the space in the window does seem, at least from my view which could be wrong on my part, to throw off the illusion. Does anyone agree or disagree?

    schizoidboyschizoidboy17 שעות לפני
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    Adrien PinardAdrien Pinard18 שעות לפני
  • Can you please remove the middle layer of window and try again

    AtmanirbharAtmanirbhar19 שעות לפני
  • Recalinear :D

    MarklarMarklar19 שעות לפני
  • can't make head or tails out of what ever the hell this is

    elroy elroyelroy elroy19 שעות לפני
  • In Regards to the true light speed measurement. Please review. Two Clocks at a Distance from one another, One Laser in Center at Triangle position. Mirror Splitter sends Laser Light which Activates Digital Clocks, wich are wired back to the triangle center position. One high speed camera focused on both Clock monitors. Now block the left Laser reflection. Send light to the Right Clock. Right Clock reflects to a mirror back to the Center. Fron Center, Light reflects to the Left side. Left Side reflects straight to the Right Side, Stoping Right Clock on Arrival. Right Side Mirror reflects Laser back, straight to Left side Stoping Left Clock. By now you should have a clear Measurement.

    Alphabeto K9.StaticsAlphabeto K9.Statics19 שעות לפני
  • 2:21 the illusion with the help of the rubik's cube is like in video games when a distant object supposedly non apparent (because it is behind another texture closer to you), due to a bug, still appears (and I got kinda used to it, now, as I played a lot since I started) XD

    反乱者Rigierish反乱者Rigierish19 שעות לפני
  • you just gotta let yer head know the fat side is in the back when it is. once you unlock you mind from the false perspective you can see it.

    TRaddcliffTRaddcliff20 שעות לפני
  • With the ruler i can almost break the illusion

    Gian Van den broekGian Van den broek21 שעה לפני
  • If i try hard i can see it rotating

    LiorGames363LiorGames36321 שעה לפני
  • I'm able to see it both ways but my brain prefers the illusion. Very neat!

    Combee BowlinCombee Bowlin21 שעה לפני
  • The horses name was Friday

    isa butchersisa butchers22 שעות לפני
  • Rectal-Linear... a bit of an oxymoron biologically!! LOL!!!

    dejablueguitardejablueguitar23 שעות לפני
  • Humm... I'm thinking of ISS and how inside, that's almost all exactly the geometry you discussed in the video. Could this be why it's square and not a tube as is the outside of ISS? I guess we will have to take all this into account as more above earth habitats are built. Something like this video just might be a way to get an idea of how a person that is interviewing for a job in microgravity may or may not be more susceptible to motion sickness.

    feyaia vanprifeyaia vanpri23 שעות לפני
  • Good demonstration later in the video of how some very talented street artists make such great illusions.

    feyaia vanprifeyaia vanpri23 שעות לפני
  • Ok Wise Guy, I was waiting for you to demonstrate how creatures with spider eyes or fly eyes would see this. Ha!

    feyaia vanprifeyaia vanpri23 שעות לפני
  • Interesting

    QBOX 83QBOX 8323 שעות לפני
  • I laughed so much. Well done, and thank you.

    N. HenryN. Henry23 שעות לפני
  • My brain cells: *Gone, reduced to atoms*

    I will defeat Justin YI will defeat Justin Y23 שעות לפני
  • The ruler actually helps me see the paper moving around in a circle. It makes it easier to force my eyes and mind to focus on what is actually happening, though not much easier.

    Destiny McKinleyDestiny McKinley23 שעות לפני
  • I just could'nt see the rotaton until you changed the background from black.

    MarkovicsableMarkovicsableיום לפני
  • So much for "Seeing is believing".

    Denise AndersonDenise Andersonיום לפני
  • when you watch this for an hour I ACTUALLY SAW IT

    Finnley Jack AjaFinnley Jack Ajaיום לפני
  • 11:13 Time to play Megalovania on that.

    3l H4ck3r C0mf0r73l H4ck3r C0mf0r7יום לפני
  • I was able to see it rotating at about 6:46 and since then i've been able to see through it weirdly enough, I live in a city with many 90 degree angles so maybe since it's circular it made me see it more clearly? I don't know for sure yet but it's cool!

    SatanSatanיום לפני
    • Hummmm any balloonist out there that watched this?

      feyaia vanprifeyaia vanpri23 שעות לפני
  • FYI anyone watching this video should do so while high, its even more mind blowing

    jaybajanjaybajanיום לפני
  • My brain must be brocken cause I see it spinning

    Stoner PenguinStoner Penguinיום לפני
  • Anyone familiar with Buddha's wisdom teachings understands the implications of this. The emptiness teachings. Nothing is inherently existent. Emptiness. Dependent co-arising.

    tomfoolery333tomfoolery333יום לפני
  • Diavolo and Subaru : Are you sure about that?

    miningdust mcgameplayminingdust mcgameplayיום לפני
  • Trippy

    Je Suis Ce Que Je SuisJe Suis Ce Que Je Suisיום לפני
  • This video explains how we all have conflicting views right now even tho we all have access to the same info

    Miquel BiggsMiquel Biggsיום לפני
  • Totally looked like it was oscillating, but then about 2/3rds of the way through I started seeing them all as rotating once I paid really close attention for the first time. Weird

    Chilly JackChilly Jackיום לפני
  • When you actually can see trough the illusion

    jarno kisselsjarno kisselsיום לפני
  • Visual gaslighting!

    Adam WhitakerAdam Whitakerיום לפני
  • I see the non-illusion.....

    Jesse GillispieJesse Gillispieיום לפני
  • If you blink really fast while watching the window it almost is setting completely still and not moving at all.

    Bart SimpsonBart Simpsonיום לפני
    • True

      CubeyBloxCubeyBlox7 שעות לפני
  • Idk why, but the first time the illusion cycled around with ruler, I was able to see it going around. But after one cycle, it goes back to going back and forth. Then every illusion becomes clear and I can see it moving circularly.

    KKיום לפני
  • well id say that the solution might be that our brains focus on edges all the time bcs they are much easier to translate. but we can also focus on movement and can predict what an object might do. i tried myself and managed to see the it turning. maybe it does not depend on what edges im used to, it depends on how im used to concentrate on my focus sight.

    a namea nameיום לפני
  • HOLY SHI- help...

    Henzo1002Henzo1002יום לפני
  • So amazing!!!

    Slow HandSlow Handיום לפני
  • what is this

    KatsudonChan XdKatsudonChan Xdיום לפני
  • The key to the illusion is actually the camera framing, which is the key to almost all of these "optical illusions". They're more camera tricks than real optical illusions. When you went to a wide shot where it wasn't taking up the entire screen against a pure black background it didn't look like anything other than what it was.

    Rowgue51Rowgue51יום לפני
    • Exactly. Only works with a Head-On view. Still, that Room was amazing.!!

      feyaia vanprifeyaia vanpri23 שעות לפני
  • Brilliant vid 🤩 thank you 🙏

    Earth WorthEarth Worthיום לפני
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    Sho TorSho Torיום לפני
  • Okay, l know lve no buisness in this chat area, w some very impressive minds. I've something to put out there, in hopes of someone or one's, putting it back. When He said there were infinite ways to get the same perçeption ? Was it ? I know l didn't describe it all that well, but if l had little better of an understanding, different perspective, or whatever.

    Keith McmullenKeith Mcmullenיום לפני
  • It is just perception perspective illusion not rectangular illusion :). The bigger lion is a lion that is closer to you :)

    TymexComputingTymexComputingיום לפני
  • This is so awesome to watch, gonna save this to watch over and over. Mind blown 🔥🔥 Thanks for the upload.

    Jonny StolpeJonny Stolpeיום לפני
  • I work 3D. knowing if something is the right side up, flat, round, square or near, is my job. people who can't tell a plane from a volume should have their drivers licenses revoked.

    NighthawkNighthawkיום לפני
  • I had to concentrate very hard, but I was able to follow the short end through its rotation. I'll never tire of optical illusions.

    Elliot WaltonElliot Waltonיום לפני
  • I focused on the shadow and the point where the ruler and the illusion. I can see it.

    Ben PamBen Pamיום לפני
  • If I focus on 1 side I can see it spinning

    Kevin LiKevin Liיום לפני
  • I forced my brain to see it rotating and now I always see it as both rotating and oscillating. Every time I look at it I get a headache.

    Siraj SalyaniSiraj Salyaniיום לפני

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    Vo Hoai BacVo Hoai Bacיום לפני
  • if i focus on a small part i can see it how it is, but if i just look without concentrating it looks odd like its defying physic lol

    Red MartyrRed Martyrיום לפני
  • What a fun and educational presentation! Very nice!

    Patty KatzerPatty Katzerיום לפני
  • Acoording time space dilation light would take different time

    tomtomdutomtomduיום לפני
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    Khloe ClicksKhloe Clicksיום לפני
  • The baby is an illusion. 😆

    VivliforiaVivliforiaיום לפני
  • Being lightly autistic has it's advantages I suppose ;)

    luuk vluuk vיום לפני
  • I can see the normal illusion spinning only with effort. With you inside it, I can only see it oscillating with effort.

    Umatsu ObossaUmatsu Obossaיום לפני
  • i get how it works

    Aiden OoAiden Ooיום לפני
  • My brain feels attacked. Stop, sir, for you are confu-u-u-s.. ...*error...does not compute* ... ... .. *click*

    Brian SanteroBrian Santeroיום לפני
  • Is it weird that I can see both I see it rotate and oscillate

    saywhatnow comonsaywhatnow comon2 ימים לפני
  • If you look at a bottom corner only, and avoid the whole picture you can see it is rotating. If you take it all in the perspective change of shadowing fools the mind.

    Steve ThompsonSteve Thompson2 ימים לפני