Books by Brights

Champions of Illusion: The Science Behind Mind-Boggling Images and Mystifying Brain Puzzles

Champions of Illusion: The Science Behind Mind-Boggling Images and Mystifying Brain Puzzles

Authors: Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik
Publisher: Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux (October 24, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0374120404
ISBN-13: 978-0374120405
To Purchase: Available from Amazon, B&N, IndieBound, et cetera. Visit for book tour dates and other info.


This book offers the reader a full-color gallery of stunning illusions. It explains the science behind them, too.

Coauthors Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik have studied the neuroscience of sensory and cognitive illusions in their laboratories for almost two decades, and promoted them to general audiences as an exciting and spectacular tool to confront our wider misperceptions and sharpen our critical thinking skills in our so called ‘post-truth’ era.

In Champions of Illusion, Martinez-Conde and Macknik present a smorgasbord of mystifying images, many selected from their Best Illusion of the Year Contest. Whether it’s false motion, tricks of perspective, or shifting colors, Champions of Illusion is packed with adventures in visual perception. If you have ever found yourself face-to-face with an utterly bewildering illusion, you know the powerful effect such images have on the mind. The question we often ask ourselves is: How is that possible? Martinez-Conde and Macknik, who study the intersection of neuroscience, illusions, and stage magic, explain just why we think we see the things we see.

The “Best Illusion of the Year Contest” draws entries from vision scientists, artists, magicians, and mathematicians bent on creating today’s most beguiling illusions. Featuring the contest’s most bizarre effects and unbelievable mind tricks, along with classic illusions and illuminating descriptions of what is actually going on in your brain when you are deceived by visuals on the page, Champions of Illusion is an electrifying mix of science and magic that you will not soon forget.

About the Authors

Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik are award-winning neuroscientists and professors at the State University of New York. They authored the international bestseller Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions, and have written for Scientific American, The New York Times, The Sunday Times (London), and How It Works. Their Scientific American contributions include three special editions of Scientific American: Mind dedicated to their work. Their research has been covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, NPR, and more. They produce the Best Illusion of the Year Contest. They live in Brooklyn.

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