My goal with this website is to share insights from psychology about a fascinating feature of the mind: the experience of illusions. Illusions reveal interesting things about how the mind works, and they have been used as tools in cognitive research.
A typical way to experience an illusion is by watching a magic trick. However, the magician does not create the illusion, it is created in the spectator’s mind due to its cognitive limitations and metacognitive failures.
There are other illusions that have a powerful influence on our lives. For instance, the illusion of control, the illusion of causality, the subjective feeling of free will, to name a few. Furthermore, we have biases and heuristics, which may sometimes lead to wrong judgments. Although they have an important influence on our behavior, they operate without our awareness.
Illusions may be applied in clever deceptions, and thus, it is important to encourage and exercise critical thinking.
«Every time we exercise self-criticism, every time we test our ideas against the outside world, we are doing science. When we are self-indulgent and uncritical, when we confuse hopes and facts, we slide into pseudoscience and superstition» Carl Sagan.
First, a confession: Like many teenagers, who have to make up their minds about their careers, I too was undecided. Also, like many who are in their first undergraduate year, I too was unconvinced. I studied psychology committedly, but my lack of conviction lasted for, well, several years after I finished my master’s. Gradually, and unexpectedly, I became truly interested in how the mind works.
It now seems to me the most interesting and fascinating puzzle. A lot has been written about the mind, but the assumptions and questions are my favorite part of any reading. As a neuropsychologist, I have learned that when we talk about the mind and the brain, we are probably talking about the same thing. This is one of the most interesting and unresolved issues I have found in the literature. I have witnessed how brain damage can bring about deep and, sometimes, strange changes in a person’s behavior and experience; sometimes without her awareness that something has changed.
I have been inspired by the work of remarkable scientists: Gustav Kuhn, Anthony Barnhart, Daniel Simons, Elizabeth Loftus and others.
Dr. Gustav Kuhn
Dr. Anthony Barnhart
Dr. Daniel Simons
Dr. Elizabeth Loftus
«The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing»