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The Mind's Eye


This is a past exhibition.

Entrance, Science Centre Singapore

Typical time required:

15-30 min  


In order to see, your eye must focus light on its retina, convert the light into electrical impulses, and send those impulses to your brain to be interpreted.  All this happens almost instantaneously, allowing you to see your surroundings or read a book. However, sometimes this process can play tricks on us. When our brain is tricked into seeing something that is not really there, or it interprets an image wrongly, that's what we call an optical illusion.

Illusions can be very deceiving, and magicians use illusions to their advantage to make the audience believe that something happened by magic. The ‘Mind’s Eye’ exhibition reveals some of the secrets behind the illusions. Explore this exhibition to challenge and tease your senses!




Impossible Objects

It may look reasonable on paper, but when you consider whether it can exist in real life, you might be scratching your head! Some illusions cause us to see an object or scene that could not actually exist. This can be done with shading, which can cause something to appear farther away, or the careful use of lines, which can give depth or dimension to an object. 

Look out for more ‘impossible objects’ in the gallery.


Ambiguous illusions

Ambiguous illusions are single images that your brain can interpret in two or more different ways. Which way you see the image depends on how you look at it; the angle of the image, shading from light to dark and contrast with the background all can make a difference.

The ambiguous illusion on the right looks either like a vase or two people facing each other.  Come and see our exhibits for more examples.




Anomalous Motion

Take a look at the image on the left. Does it appear to be moving? Focus very hard in the middle of the image and the motion will stop. This perceived motion is a complex illusion that depends on color, contrast, and peripheral vision, which is what you see from the ‘corners’ of your eyes. Be careful when looking at anomalous motion illusions, as they might make you feel dizzy!



Head on a platter

Have you ever seen yourself without a body? You can make your body magically disappear at this exhibit! This trick works using a mirror, but where is the mirror placed? Come and find out the secret behind this trick.



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