Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

TagVisual illusions (vection)

a-german-train-passes-a-train-station-stockpack-adobe-stock
a german train passes a train station

The “My Train Is Moving Too!” Illusion

Special neurons help us study the motion of others when we are moving too — but they can sometimes be fooled

Do you recall that odd feeling when — sitting on a train that you know is standing still — you suddenly feel that it is moving (!)? It happens when you are watching a moving train right beside you and there is no other reference point. There’s a name for that: vection, “the sensation of movement of the body in space produced purely by visual stimulation.” It is a staple, of course, of IMAX films and virtual reality displays. And it’s a fairly easy illusion to produce: It turns out that vection can be induced with any sufficiently decent screen and some scenery. Experimenters can put make people believe they’re spinning in a circle, zipping back and forth, and even…