People never cease to be
marveled by exercises which illustrate how automated and limited
human perceptions can be.
As William James put it,
“whilst part of what we perceive comes through our senses from the
object before us, another part (and it may be the larger part) always
comes out of our own mind”
Optical illusions and cognitive deceptions can be
used as experiential exercises to:
provide convenient windows into how the brain works;
help people become aware of the hidden constraints of the
visual system in a way that normal perception fails to do
show how psychology can be a fun tool to help people learn
To conduct an experiential
session for people to explore some of the ways their mind perceives,
download and print out the 25-page Word document, which contains:
Sitting in a circle, provide
a basic introduction to illusions and hand out the answer sheets.
Then pass the illusions out, allowing participants to spend ~90 secs
studying and answering each one, then passing it on to the next person.
At the end, discuss the answers and the implications for understanding
the human mind.
Exercises [25 pages; .doc; .4 MB]
[5 pages; .doc; .05 MB].
Time: ~40 mins - 60 mins
People never cease to be marveled by optimal illusions and cognitive
This activity provides 17 illusions which can be used to experientially
illustrate how the human mind perceives and structures the world.