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The 3 best new illusions of 2015
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This illusion from Kokichi Sugihara of Japans Meiji University snagged second place in the competition. It features a garage roof that appears to be round from the front, but corrugated when reflected in a mirror. In truth, it is neither shape. - photo by Natalie Crofts
Optical illusions have been boggling minds for ages.

The deceiving images arent just fun to talk about; they also provide insight into how we process sensory perception. As a result, the illusions are useful for researchers studying topics like ophthalmic and neurological diseases.

In an effort to advance research, the Neural Correlate Society hosts an annual Best Illusion of the Year Contest. Recently, the organization announced its winners for 2015.

"Splitting Colors"

First place in the 2015 competition went to Splitting Colors, an animation that demonstrates how one and the same object can look completely different depending on its surroundings, according to the competition. It was created by Mark Vergeer of Belgium.

We start off with two identical, flickering colored stripes that remain unchanged throughout the demonstration, the description reads. However, different surroundings will make these stripes appear completely different. When the stripe is flanked by a yellow/blue pattern, drifting to the left, it changes appearance, and looks red and cyan, drifting to the right, while the same stripe, flanked by a red/cyan pattern drifting to the right, suddenly looks yellow and blue, drifting to the left.

"Ambiguous Garage Roof"

This illusion from Kokichi Sugihara of Japans Meiji University snagged second place in the competition. It features a garage roof that appears to be round from the front, but corrugated when reflected in a mirror. In truth, it is neither shape.

This illusory solid was discovered by combining two observations. One is a mathematical observation that a single image does not convey depth information, and the other is a psychological observation that the human brains like right angles in interpreting an image, the description reads. Indeed we are apt to interpret the edge curve of the roof as an intersection of a roof with a plane perpendicular to the axis of the roof.

"The Day it Rained on Lowry"

Michael Pickard took home third place for his transformation of the painting Returning from Work. The original image and a darkened version play in a loop, making it appear as if the workers are shuffling forward.

In reality, the characters are moving backwards and forwards and only seem to shuffle because a perceptual bias has been created that favours seeing the small forward movement, the description reads. This appears much larger to the viewer who, in a way similar to how we navigate through crowds using just passing glances, unconsciously extrapolates the movement forward.

The complete list of finalists can be viewed on the Best Illusion of the Year Contests website.