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University of Nevada, Reno continues $10 million biomedical studies for COBRE grant
Date:7/8/2014

RENO, Nev. In a packed house of more than a 1,000 people, University of Nevada, Reno graduate psychology student Christopher Blair presented the Dynamic Ebbinghaus illusion at the 10th annual Best Illusion of the Year Contest hosted by the Neural Correlate Society in St. Petersburg, Fla. The illusion was named the 2014 Best Illusion of the Year.

Visual illusions contribute to the understanding of the basic mechanisms of sensory perception. The Dynamic Ebbinghaus illusion begins with a static image of a circle surrounded by a set of circles. The image is transformed into a moving display and, as it moves, it appears the center circle changes size, though it does not.

Blair worked on this illusion for more than a year under the guidance of Assistant Professor of Psychology Gideon Caplovitz and Faculty Research Scientist Ryan Mruczek in the College of Liberal Arts' Department of Psychology. Caplovitz has helped earn a top-10 spot for a University-submitted illusion in three of the last four years and earned third place in 2006.

"The mission of the contest is to highlight the role of illusions in the study of visual perception and the visual brain and create a bridge of our research to the general public," Caplovitz said.

Blair and Mruczek work with Caplovitz in the Caplovitz Vision Lab which is partially funded by the Center for Integrative Neuroscience, a multidisciplinary Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant. Caplovitz is one of five University faculty members who are part of the $10 million grant awarded to the University in 2012 to foster complementary approaches. This funding played an important part in creating the best illusion of the year.

According to Caplovitz, the scientific community was drawn to the winning illusion not only because of the large dramatic effect but also because it highlights for the first time the role image-dynamics play in the representation of size in the brain
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Contact: Natalie Savidge
nsavidge@unr.edu
775-784-4611
University of Nevada, Reno
Source:Eurekalert  

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