The Illusion Only Some Can See

3 010 781 Megtekintés

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

  • If you look at this legs it looks normal but then if you look at his body it looks like it goes through

    Bobby PotatoBobby Potato6 perccel
  • My problem is knowing which way it's rotating.

    wheedlerwheedler10 perccel
  • The dull care substantively wail because archaeology trivially consist till a pathetic maid. clear, grandiose cream

    Bob ThomasBob Thomas39 perccel

    Gabe QuezadaGabe QuezadaÓrája
  • One man's obsession with Ames led to the opening of the Window to a new and dark reality.

  • This should be tagged "NSFW" because my brain is now f*cked!

    Möoz StreamsMöoz StreamsÓrája
  • I wonder if the failure of science to wish to see any validity to the subject of astrology is an example of the ames illusion?

    Sylvan MoirSylvan Moir2 órája
  • It took me a while, but I see it now. Freaky lol.

    Tim HigginsTim Higgins2 órája
  • And Flat Earthers be running around acting like their perceptions are more reliable than actual measurements! Flerfer: "Well.. It looks flat!" Me: "Check out the Ames Window" Flerfer: _head explodes_

    Joshua JaffeJoshua Jaffe2 órája
  • When it is rotating faster at 4:14 I can see the illusion far easier that the one demonstrated prior

    lilBurntToast T-TlilBurntToast T-T2 órája
  • i can somehow see both (as in oscillating sometimes and rotating other times) can anyone else see both or just me?

    Ryan's Vlogs and GamingRyan's Vlogs and Gaming2 órája
  • Fun fact: the ambassadors painting has the first depiction of the universal s, next to the left arm of the left dude

    Leyteris ThomasLeyteris Thomas2 órája
  • Great video. Very interesting. I remember watching the Curiosity show when it aired when I was a kid. This one frieked me out.

    YabbieYabbie2 órája
  • the people who can actually see it, laughing at him: haha loser

    BackToBackBackToBack2 órája
  • He just has noclip on

    MuskMusk2 órája
  • At the start of the video, the window was oscillating for me. In the middle of you showing the more circular illusion, I started seeing that one as rotating, then the next time you showed the window, I saw it rotating. I'm curious as to how it appeared as oscillating to me before, and yet now my mind broke the illusion.

    Vintuxenzoryuwaqem ZulyenkatorixVintuxenzoryuwaqem Zulyenkatorix2 órája
  • no no no im out this is illegal i cant no stop

    4GuysDoDumbShit4GuysDoDumbShit2 órája
  • When u went into that window k saw it rotate and it didnt maje tge illusion

    No OneNo One2 órája
  • if i focus on 1 edge of the illusion i can see it rotating, but i gotta say the ruler blew my mind

    DerNerdDerNerd3 órája
  • What happens when there are different colors on the two sides? Or if you flip the light/dark placement?

    Virginia S. PostonVirginia S. Poston4 órája
  • I've watched two of our videos and my head already hurts.

    giga from horrorscramblegiga from horrorscramble4 órája
  • OWW BrainFry- 😣

    Tijana BojicTijana Bojic4 órája
  • how i ended here?

    brown hissbrown hiss5 órája
  • Stereoscopic vision thanks to 2 eyes give life to this illusion.

    James Von BlitzaJames Von Blitza5 órája
  • Small one oscilates and big one rotates

    The Electric GamerThe Electric Gamer5 órája
  • Do something about hyperbolic and spherical spaces. That would be interesting.

    Rex PolskiRex Polski5 órája
  • The terrific jury cranially handle because tile ignificantly scratch beside a third knight. whimsical, juicy dressing

    Erma DawsonErma Dawson6 órája
    • Calling for humility in 2021?!?! OuTrAgEoUs! 😬

      eioshen boboieioshen boboi5 órája
  • the is one of those i can see either way. force myself to see it correct or illusion or allow myself to see it real or illusion....

    Chris CChris C6 órája
  • If you really want to break through the illusion, just focus on the flat planes of the corners. They are the key to breaking it. As now, you can differentiate the sides and see the object spinning.

    Daniel ClarkDaniel Clark6 órája
  • well, count me in amongst the "some" ...once I seen the shading as he was getting into I already knew that I won't be impressed by any of this. Instead of calling this illusion they should call it a "brain function gap" , human brains have plenty of those

    George GeorgeGeorge George7 órája
  • My eyes: Maybe i am special

    CheeseCheese7 órája
  • A beautifully subtle political conclusion and commentary on the world right now. Thank you Derek

    Tim CoshamTim Cosham7 órája
  • Attach a toy on one side of the window to check baby's reaction.

    Atulya AnandAtulya Anand8 órája
  • 10:16 i wanted bleach-

    Akuma DakuAkuma Daku8 órája
  • The windy cloth really trap because great-grandfather only scatter beneath a low exhaust. thoughtless, well-to-do children

    NSB BOTNSB BOT8 órája
  • saw music around 11:12 :) like the first 3 notes from close encounters of the 3rd kind! :)

    K GoodK Good8 órája
  • "Ohhh, the Iron-y" you smart base-tard looks like ion-ta show yer(anium) how to make a good pun.

    SnowheadBlitzSnowheadBlitz9 órája
  • Sir, we are a lot of people from India and more Hindi language is spoken in India, so you are requested to include Hindi language in the CC button of the video so that all of us can also understand the meaning of your video.

    Sravan singh patelSravan singh patel9 órája
  • i can force myself to see it but there is a half second where it looks like its stopping and going back where i lose it and repick it back up. really the only thing that lets me see it, is because the side waves slightly as it turns. if it was solid i'd never be able to keep track of it

    Artic KnightArtic Knight10 órája
  • Am I the only one who can just choose to see the illusion or the real thing?

    speediskeyspeediskey10 órája
  • Calling for humility in 2021?!?! OuTrAgEoUs! 😬

    Paul DilleyPaul Dilley10 órája
  • I love this. I can see it correctly if I concentrate with the ruler in place as a guide, but my brain really wants to see the illusion. With the life-size window and you in it, I see it as rotating most of the time. Probably all of reality is twisted like this on a fundamental level and we are all fooled every day.

    Green LintGreen Lint11 órája
  • @15:08 we could all learn something from that comment. Great video, btw!

  • Just like you ball earthers. You clearly prefer the “illusions” of outer space, impossible speeds of earth, sun and galaxy and impossible evolutionary “theories” including ridiculous time frames over the truth! We live on a flat a stationary earth, space is fake and we ARE the center of the universe as it all rotates around us like the true time piece it PROVES to be year after year

  • If you recognise the qualities of the object before he starts rotating, you see right through it quite easily. In fact, I had to re-watch it to see the illusion, because at first I didn't know what he meant when he said "the window is rotating through me"; I just didn't see it. Interesting trick. I enjoyed it

    Landon WaldieLandon Waldie11 órája
  • Ok, I hereby Illegalize (is that even a word?) the ames window, it shall be considered dark magic that should not exist because my brain does not like how it tricks me.

    RudorftwRudorftw12 órája
  • Speaking of vision and how we perceive things, this might be a neat video also, why does my vision during the night become grainy looking where it is not during the day? And is there a way to fix this?

    Endyy3YyEndyy3Yy12 órája
  • That illusion is really amazing, but onece you see the real rotation, you can't unsee it

    rozh996rozh99612 órája
  • Hey ! We need captain disillusion here !

    YassineYassine13 órája
  • 9:54 bad example its intuitive that the face on the right sticks out because it appears larger and closer and it also has better lighting geometry, now if you made something duller that didn't shine as much and used a lighter pigment for the sunk in face and manipulated the scale slightly you could make the faces almost match or even give off the impression that the sunk in face is the sticking out face.

    XDbored1XDbored113 órája
  • Now, the shirt would be even more funny if it said Fe male :P

    v1asecv1asec14 órája
  • He really looks like elon musk ... doesn't he?

    code lover07code lover0714 órája
  • I loved this, we only perceive things in the way we are capable of, we need science to develop machines that can do this for us, physicist say there are more than 3 dimensions but we just are not able to see them.

    mjc 427mjc 42714 órája
  • Nah! I see it turning. Why are you telling us we can't see it turn?

    Popong OmacPopong Omac15 órája
  • isnt too hard to see past the illusion if you perceive it as the original shape

    CrystCryst15 órája
  • The longer the video went on, the easier it was to ignore the illusion and actually see what was going on. Although, the example of the two faces where one was protruding out and the other was going inwards, I instinctively knew which one was which, so it confused me when it was said you could only tell when the image moved.

    Chaotic AceChaotic Ace15 órája
  • I can see the biggest one rotate if I look at the right place.

    Viktor AnderåsViktor Anderås15 órája
  • I managed to see it here 2:49

    Tony AgarTony Agar15 órája
  • the saddening part is i stopped seeing the illusion halfway through the video, went back, and realized my brain's gone in it's "can't unsee" phase now once i figure an illusion out it doesn't trick me, idk why

    ShinyKittyShinyKitty15 órája
  • I can see both Edit: it keeps flickering between real and illusion

    SvenSven15 órája
  • I only saw rotation I didnt get what you where trying to doing till the end of the video

    Austin JolleyAustin Jolley15 órája
  • What helped me break the illusion was to focus on how the holes in the window shrink as it turns towards the camera, and expand as it turns away from it.

    No Google, I don't want to use my real name.No Google, I don't want to use my real name.15 órája
  • i just want to ssee the babies

    DiggyPTDiggyPT16 órája
  • Wow, it got me the first time But then I sorta concentrated and saw through the illusion

    Su JaiSu Jai16 órája
  • 0:40 i see a sin wave

    DiggyPTDiggyPT16 órája
  • i dont see it, now im sad :(

    Adam MillerAdam Miller16 órája
  • thats really weird

    jakeisawesomebabyjakeisawesomebaby16 órája
  • A wonderfully extended show of... amazing butt...

    Fada TeFada Te17 órája
  • Nice tie-in to subjective experiences in general at the end

    GuavaflavaGuavaflava17 órája
  • The triangle ruler and when you where spinning inside it broke the illusion for me, but that Rubik's cube shot no matter how hard I try keeps oscillating

    Jcornman24Jcornman2418 órája
  • I think my brain just committed suicide

    Marco Antonio GarciaMarco Antonio Garcia18 órája
  • I can both see the illusion and unseen it

    Zvoosh25Zvoosh2518 órája
  • Its not really that good since the board is wonky, some parts are visible and the board doesnt look like its squishing together.

    Galaxii_Galaxii_18 órája
  • The de Heer circle is when I finally saw through the illusion! Gonna check the trap-ezoid again and see if I can spot it now :D

    woodneelwoodneel19 órája
  • why is this hard to figure out, or "see"?

    Scott RackleyScott Rackley19 órája
  • If I focus on a sight point I can see what is actually happening. If I'm not focusing on one point I see the illusion.

    Joshua LaFleurJoshua LaFleur19 órája
  • I usually don't see the illusion unless I try to.

    MasterTofu MelissaMasterTofu Melissa20 órája
  • The Ames room doesn't appear to actually be an illusion on our computer screens - because if you measure the images of the two figures, they're truly smaller when at the entrance than when to the left. In real life, it would be an illusion, but not on our screens.

    R HayatR Hayat20 órája
  • COOL

    Mary Anne KainMary Anne Kain20 órája
  • Thank goodness my brain managed to see it by looking at one side of that object.

    Jul SamsJul Sams20 órája
  • My husband; b4 he went blind watching the aims window ,said 4 me 2 tell u ,he loves the iron man shirt

    Wiley PittmanWiley Pittman21 órája
  • This is a bit disturbing to watch & contemplate.

    Phil ThomasPhil Thomas21 órája
  • If you pick a point like the right top corner you can pick up on the correct rotation if u unfocus ur eyes you can see it or see the illusion

    ryan macateeryan macatee23 órája
  • I can easily see it both ways

    ryan macateeryan macatee23 órája
  • Aaaaa

    Cliff GriffenCliff Griffen23 órája
  • So bizarre.

    SundaySchoolNetwork.comSundaySchoolNetwork.com23 órája
  • American politics?

    ccoastriderccoastrider23 órája
  • This is one of my favorite illusions, and no matter how I much concentrate, it always looks like it's going back and forth. I can't get my brain to see otherwise.

    Shae HoldenShae HoldenNapja
  • 😮 It's really WITCHCRAFT!! 😅🤣

  • Final comments: gold. This is why I strive not to overlay my perceptual filters onto the universe, but rather accept what the Universe presents to me.

    Joshua LeeJoshua LeeNapja
  • *I hope this video gets people to 3rd dimension because they are stuck on dimension 2 ⚁ 😂 forget 4rd dimension 😂*

  • In the beginning I've completely accidentally bypassed the illusion

  • i saw what was actually happening for a second i think god sent a gift

    low iq meme boilow iq meme boiNapja
  • If you stare at it the illusion is hard to break. However if you look at it erratically the illusion can be broken especially if you focus on the corners.

  • These days a lot of people right now are getting basically the same fundamental information but are coming to very different conclusions about the state of reality. Wise and topical words.

  • i managed to break it for only a moment, the illusion still tricks me even though i am aware of the situation, though i can break out of it momentarily.

  • with one eye closed I could see it rotating with the guy hanging inside :))

    Ahsan SheikhAhsan SheikhNapja
  • I just see spinning so is it me or it

    Little EnderLittle EnderNapja
    • Am I really THAT weird

      Little EnderLittle EnderNapja
  • uh am i the only one who can see the actuality without disruptions in it. i can see how the paper is turning and how it can be an optical illusion but its not hard

    floral skeleboifloral skeleboiNapja
  • lol in his last sentence he said trump won the election