Prof. Akiyoshi Kitaoka – optical illusions (#2)

Professor in the Department of Psychology, Ritsumeikan University, Japan. Designer of exquisite optical illusions.

Twitter: @AkiyoshiKitaoka



You create the most amazing optical illusions, how did you get started?

Before I moved to the university where I now work, more than 20 years ago, I studied electrophysiology using monkeys. The activity of the study on visual illusion was to collect adequate stimuli for neurophysiological study. Now I only study perception with human participants. It seems that many illusions may be by-products of functional, visual mechanisms, to study illusion should be to study vision.


Describe something that has recently amazed you and how it made you feel.

I extensively study vision with curiosity. Discovery of two types of color mixture included in spatial color mixture was greatest for me in a couple of years. 


What inspires you to be creative?

Phenomena in vision that are not fully understood does so. Curiosity is most important.


Do you think humans are naturally curious? Where do you think our sense of wonder comes from?

I think so. I have no answer, but the human is the only creature that enjoy illusions. At least, it does not seem that animals have interest in visual illusions.


Is there a way for us to train our curiosity to better?

I have no idea. I am not sure of the necessity to do so.


What do you love about magic?

I do not have much interest in magic.


I think one of the big appeals about your work is they’re not just amazing but they look beautiful. Do you have any other artistic interests?

The late Kaoru Noguchi, professor of psychology in the China University, Japan, claimed that the larger the illusion magnitude, the more aesthetic the image appears to be. This issue is one of the important problems in the study of visual illusions.


How does it feel when one of your images goes viral across the Internet and appears in books/posters/museums?

It is OK if it is not for commercial use.


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