Honey, I shrunk the VC!

Posted on 8 May 2012

Dr Peter Thompson

Dr Peter Thompson demonstrates the Beuchet Chair illusion with help from University of York Vice-Chancellor, Brian Cantor.

Objects - and people - present smaller images to our eyes when they are further away. But we don't see people shrinking as they walk away from us because the visual system automatically compensates for the distance with 'size constancy'. The Beuchet Chair baffles because the two separate parts of the chair are seen as belonging together. 

Even when we know the truth of what we're looking at, our visual system opts for an absurd solution. This must mean we are prepared to abandon our beliefs about the size of people to accommodate those automatic processes that ensure the two parts of the chair belong to a single object. The Beuchet Chair is sponsored by viperlib - the visual perception library of images.