Ep 199: Depth Perception – How Your Brain Sees What’s Not There

Depth Perception Before & After

How do you create a sense of depth in a flat image? In this video I’ll show you how to use 5 cues of depth perception to turn a flat image into one that looks like it has depth. I’ll be drawing from terms you would learn about in a chapter from a psychology text on Sensation and Perception. We’ll have a little fun exploring how we can use what your brain expects to see to trick it into seeing what we want it to see.
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Episode 121: Top 10 Psychology Apps for the iPad, iPhone, & iPod

Best Psychology Apps on the iPad/iPhone

I show you 10 of what I consider to be the best psychology apps in the app store. There are a lot of psychology apps and many are not so good, but in this episode I pick out what I consider to be credible therapy apps, excellent mind mapping tools, relaxation apps, and some of the best 3 dimensional ways to look at the brain.

Here are three apps created, maintained and constantly updated by me – Michael A. Britt, Ph.D.:

Episode 75: Science Proves Subliminal Tapes Work! Well….not really

Do subliminal messages in self-help tapes really work? There actually is some evidence that people can be influenced by subliminal messages. Can your self-esteem be raised with subliminal tapes? Can subliminal persuasion help you lose weight? Are there subliminal messages in Disney files? Are there subliminal messages in advertising that can make you buy certain products? These questions answered once and for all at The Psych Files podcast.

Resources on Subliminal Messages

  • Pratkanis, A.R., Eskenazi, J., Greenwald, A. J. (1994). What You Expect is What You Believe but Not Necessarily What You Get: a Test of the Effectiveness of Subliminal Self-Help Audiotapes, Basic and Applied Social Psychology.
  • Murphy S.T. & Zajonc, R.B. (1993). Affect, cognition, and awareness: affective priming with optimal and suboptimal stimulus exposures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64(5), 723-739.
  • Smith, K.H. & Rogers, M. (1994). Effectiveness of subliminal messages in television commercials: Two experiments. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79(6), 866-874.
  • Moore, T.E. (1995). Subliminal self?-?help auditory tapes: An empirical test of perceptual consequences. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science,27(1), 9-20.
  • Merikle, P.M. & Skanes, H.E. (1992). Subliminal self?-?help audiotapes: A search for placebo effects. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77(5), 772-776.
  • Vokey, J. R. & Read, J. D. (1985). Subliminal messages: Between the devil and the media. American Psychologist, 40(11), 1231-1239.
  • Champion, J. M. & Turner, W.W. (1959). An experimental investigation of subliminal perception. Journal of Applied Psychology, 43(6),382-384.
  • Byrne, D. (1959). The effect of a subliminal food stimulus on verbal responses. Journal of Applied Psychology, 43(4), 249-252.
  • THE 2000 CAMPAIGN: THE AD CAMPAIGN; Democrats See, and Smell, Rats in G.O.P. Ad
  • Here’s a link to the book that was very useful to me in developing this episode, "Scientific Perspectives on Pseudoscience and the Paranormal" by Timothy J. Lawson:

Episode 31: Lemon Slices and a New Face on Mars! Gestalt Principles at Work


The gestalt principles of perception – how do they work? How do they explain the fact that we sometimes perceive strange things, and how we can appreciate works of art? In this episode I take a close look at why people see a lot of strange things around them – including me. We’ll see images on lemon slices, on Mars, and on building tops. Why do we perceive these things?

Resources on Gestalt Principles

  • title= Click here or the image to the left to participate in an experiment I created for this episode. You can run this experiment on your friends, or even use it for a project in class. Have fun with it and let me know if you’ve got any feedback/suggestions. NOTE: The control condition is the “condition 1″ button (random pictures which are unrelated to the man on the horse). The experimental condition is the “condition 2″ button (pictures of animals which should help the viewer see the man on the horse in fewer steps than the viewers who were seeing random photos).
  • Here are a few sites which further explain some of the Gestalt principles of organization:

  • Why Do People See Faces in the Moon?
  • You can learn how psychological gestalt principles apply to web design at the Web Design for Instruction site
  • And more about psychological gestalt principles from the Spokane Falls Community College Graphic Design website.
  • Here’s the NASA site where you’ll find the “Face On Mars” pictures.
  • ‘Jesus on toast’ just a sign your brain is doing its job
  • Here’s a good site which describes the gestalt principles. It’s from the Interaction Design website.

Virgin Mary on a Lemon Slice? I got ya beat.

Perhaps you’ve heard about the Texas police officer who saw the face of the Virgin Mary in a lemon slice. If you haven’t heard about the story or seen the pictures, click here to learn more.

I’ve been holding onto a photo for a while which I believe, if you look at it just right, looks like another familiar biblical figure. Take a look and see if you see what I see. Of course, what I also see is the power of the Gestalt principle of “closure” – our tendency to complete incomplete images and to see patterns where they do – and often do not – exist. What do you think? Click on the images to see a larger version of each.

The face on the floor

Here’s a close up of the same image:
Face on Floor Close Up

In case you’re having trouble seeing it, here’s the same image with an outline around the robed figure:

Face with outline

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