Jacques Ninio

The Science of Illusions

The story of illusions begins with the efforts of the Ancients to unravel, in the quirks of nature, those arising from physical laws from those due to "deception of the senses". With the evolution of knowledge, phenomena considered illusory have been legitimized, while self-evident appearances have posed problems. For the scientist, illusion is the clue that reveals how the brain processes sensory data, it provides proof through error. New illusions have been created in recent years, including spectacular ones where movement manifests itself in a stable image. This book is a reasoned guide to illusions, both visual and auditory, from the oldest to the most recent. He invites us to a constant comings and goings between paradoxical images, familiar auditory effects to which we no longer pay attention and natural curiosities that we will notice, once alerted, by explaining the common logic at work in all these phenomena.

Jacques Ninio is a biologist and research director at the CNRS. In addition to his work on evolution and molecular recognition, he has developed an original approach to human perception and memory.