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Optical Illusions: The Science of Visual Perception Library Binding – 30 Sep 2007

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Library Binding, 30 Sep 2007
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Library Binding: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Paw Prints 2007-09-30 (30 Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1435212665
  • ISBN-13: 978-1435212664
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 22.9 x 26 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Highly entertaining' Jodi DeLong, Halifax Chronicle Herald. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Formerly at the California Institute of Technology, Al Seckel is a leading authority on visual and other types of sensory illusions. He is the author of 15 books on this subject. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Pete TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of those books you pick up and cannot put down. There is a huge range of visual tricks here looking into symmetry, shapes, colours, perception and abstract images within images. 279 in total. Some of them are so good (particularly the colour tricks) you simply cannot believe it until you read the accompanying notes in the back of the book to prove it by covering parts of the image! I'm a big fan of these illusions but only wanted one book on them (as the other reviewer has said, they do get repeated from book to book) and this was a great choice. There are some classic old favourites you've seen before but these are kept to a minimum, most of the content I had not seen before.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By dr_sign on 3 July 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I teach about visual illusions and in my opinion Seckel definitely offers the most extensive and well-illustrated collections currently available. At the time of writing this one is probably the best of Seckel's collections. However, if you buy more than one of his collections, beware - these are an extreme example of recycled material (not in the sense that you may have seen some versions before in collections by other authors - that is inevitable in this territory - indeed, he offers some very good new versions of old favourites). If you want a single good collection of visual illusions, Seckel usually offers the best, so buy whatever is his current latest. The major problem is that each new one he brings out tends to contain up to around about 85% of the material he has already published under another title/with a different cover. I have even had to return books because they were nearly identical to others of his which had a different title and cover. If you collect books of illusions, be alert to this danger. Seckel does also offer a few specialised, themed collections that are also useful.
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By Donald R G Tilston on 20 Dec. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 36 reviews
91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
Nice book, very misleading title. 29 Oct. 2006
By David H. Peterzell PhD PhD - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the most beautiful and wonderful books I own is Al Seckel's "Masters of Deception: Escher, Dali & the Artists of Optical Illusions" (2004). Unlike most other books on illusions, the book itself is a creative tour de force. And Seckel supplements his creation with visually striking and important media at his website. I think I've already given away as many as ten copies of that book to family and friends since its release.

Another of Seckel's books that I refer to frequently "Incredible Visual Illusions: You won't believe your eyes" (2003). That book has twenty chapters, each containing a different class of illusion. As a sensory scientist who teaches courses on sensation, perception and cognition, I find this book useful because it organizes a nice collection of illusions into meaningful categories that are relevant to me. In this work, as in Seckel's many others, the author acknowledges many renowned vision scientists. I imagine that the book's organization benefited from Seckel's association with these people.

Seckel's new book is "Optical Illusions: The Science of Visual Illusions." This is a fine book, with 281 optical illusions (one per page). The book begins with a four page essay on illusions. This is followed 281 pages of illusions, each printed to fill one page. Many of the illusions have been published by Seckel and others previously. A few of the illusions are new. The illustration section is followed by 24 pages containing BRIEF explanations of each illusion. Each explanation is, on average, seven or eight sentences.

I have one major criticism of the new book. The title is highly misleading. The book title suggested to me a book that would delve into science, in a scholarly way, at least at the level of a Sensation and Perception undergraduate textbook. I was hoping for something of a sequel to Masters of Deception (e.g., "The Science of Deception"?). However, this book is not about the science of visual perception or of illusions. It is not even about "optical" illusions, as most illusions are explainable in terms of perceptual and cognitive processes beyond simple optics. Sure there are 24 pages of explanation at the very end of the book, but these are generally not deep, satisfying explanations. And there is no reference list that would allow the casual reader to track down important scientific articles.

One superb, beautiful resource on the science of visual illusions is Michael Bach's website, "Optical Illusions and Visual Phenomena". Bach's dynamic site is visually striking, presenting some great illusions. The explanation of each illusion is accessible to the novice, but detailed enough to satisfy and impress other perceptual scientists. Bach generously acknowledges the artists and scientists associated with each illusion, providing scholarly references in each case. Bach lists and explains scientific controversies regarding many of the illusions. I should add that Bach is a first-rate sensory scientist from the University of Freiburg. His electophysiological and psychophysical research is highly-regarded, important, and of high quality. When I have spoken to him in the past (at conferences and at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco), I have always been impressed by his knowledge and intellectual passion. Bach and his website are the real deal.

There are plenty of other excellent scientific sources on illusions. Richard Gregory, for instance, has written and spoken about many illusions, and he is the prime mover, director, and creator of London's Explororey. Another great innovator and scientist is Christopher Tyler, a vision scientist at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute. Among sensory scientists, Tyler is widely regarded as a genius and computational/theoretical wizard. He's the guy who invented the autostereogram (aka "The Magic Eye"), and who makes unique observations about art and symmetry. He contributed considerably to San Francisco's Exploratorium. He presents a variety of interesting things at his S-K website. The Exploratorium has a wonderful website on illusions and their explanations that is definitely worth a look. Project Lite and Viperlib are two other impressive, important sites related to the science of illusions.

Seckel mentions at his website that he has even more books on illusions that are coming soon. The one that got my attention is the following:

"Your Mind's Eye: A Comprehensive Scientific Examination of Visual and Sensory Illusions. Boston: The MIT Press." Seckel writes, "This will have a dual platform (Mac and PC CD Rom) featuring hundreds of interactive illusions, and very rigorous scientific explanations. University level." I hope that this book lives up to its billing. There's no doubt that Seckel's work, combined with a healthy dose of good science, would be an important contribution. I'd love to see Seckel promote scientists and their explanations with the same enthusiasm that he promotes their illusions. Moreover, I feel confident that Seckel has important insights into illusions, and that his ideas have scientific importance. I'm not sure that Seckel has succeeded in expressing these ideas... yet.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Fabulous book for children 20 Aug. 2009
By L. McCormick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I provided this book to an 11 and 13 year old. They have looked at every page over and over again. Fascinated by the images.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
For curious, more deep thinking kinds of kids 20 Mar. 2010
By Rachael - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My 8 year old son really enjoys this book. It is more grown up than I thought it would be. My son says "it's very fun to follow the instructions and see cool stuff."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
BEST Optical Illusions Book I've Found 7 Mar. 2011
By suzanna - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is by far the best optical illusions book I've ever seen. First off, it's MASSIVE, and virtually every page has a full-page image. A lot of books like this take so much time explaining and are very wordy. Not this one! Beautiful pictures, excellent variety of images, and you can never get bored with this book...Great for adults and kids of all ages. HIGHLY RECOMMEND IF YOU HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR OPTICAL ILLUSIONS BOOKS IN PARTICULAR.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Truly Enjoyable 30 Jun. 2012
By Judy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great book chock full of optical illusions. Not hugely in depth about the science of illusions, but a great page turner. Each page has a full size, beautifully printed, color illusion. Like other reviewers, I was pleased and surprised about the size and quantity of illusions in the book. I was also pleased with the quality and construction. It's a book you will want to return to over and over. If buying for children, I have found that ages 7 and up have really taken a liking to this book.
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