The Winners Of 2018's Best Illusion of the Year Contest Have Been Announced


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer

Kokichi Sugihara/The Illusion contest/YouTube

The results of a contest to name the Best Illusions of the Year have been announced, with some rather impressive contributions from visual scientists, ophthalmologists, neurologists, and artists around the globe.

The winners of the 14th Best Illusion of the Year Contest SM were announced on October 19, with first prize scooping prize money of $3,000. That went to Kokichi Sugihara of Meiji University in Japan, for an illusion titled “Triply Ambiguous Object”.


“The object generates three different interpretations when it is seen from three special viewpoints,” a description for the illusion states on the Illusion of the Year website.

“The picture is placed on a horizontal surface and it is seen in slanted directions so that one group of parallel lines appears to be vertical. Then we perceive three different structures because they are compressed in different directions. The pole with a flag represents the direction of the gravity, which strengthens the illusion.”

You can see a video of the illusion in action below.

Second place, which received $2,000 prize money, went to David Phillips, Priscilla Heard, and Christopher Tyler of the University of the West of England, Bristol, and City University of London, both in the UK. Their illusion, “Movement Illusion With a Twist,” plays around with the flow of a ribbon of texture.


And third place, earning a not-too-shabby $1,000, was awarded to Michael Pickard and Gurpreet Singh of the University of Sunderland in the UK for “A Worm’s Eye View”. Their illusion creates a sense of motion in a flashing snake, despite it not moving at all.

The awards were voted for by members of the public, and sponsored by the Neural Correlate Society. But if you missed out on this one with a great illusion of your own, don’t worry – submissions are now being accepted for 2019’s contest, so get going.

The rest of the top 10 illusions are below, from dancing crabs to two dots “chasing” each other across a map. And if you want to learn more about illusions, why not read our article on eight illusions that should make you question your senses, or this one on why we see illusions in the first place.

Just remember, everything you’re seeing is a lie. Probably.



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