How do Optical Illusions Work

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by Ankesh Kothari on Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Session type

Technical level


To deconstruct optical illusions and explain the science behind it.


When you poke the world at its extreme edges, you find things that are surprising.

Optical illusions seem like bugs in the matrix. They seem like magic. But by deconstructing optical illusions, you can poke at the extremes and the eccentricities of our human brain. You can learn about its limitations. And you can learn about the genius mechanisms our brain has created to deal with a 3D world with 2D inputs.


Projector or screen as this is a picture heavy presentation. There are a couple of optical illusion videos too, so audio support needed too.

Speaker bio

Ankesh Kothari has always been fascinated with optical illusions. He went through the rabbit hole find why optical illusions work. His journey took him through the fields of gestalt psychology, neuroscience and especially the usage of associative memory and mnemonic devices, and art. In the end, he figured that there are 5 types of optical illusions. In a fun filled presentation, he showcases why optical illusions work and what its 5 subtypes are.

(Note: This presentation was first given during Barcamp Mumbai #7 and it was very well received by the audience.)