The Illusion Only Some People Can See
Ames window illusion illustrates how we don't directly perceive external reality. Special Holiday deal! Go to and use code VERITASIUM to get 68% off a 2 year plan plus 4 additional months free. It’s risk free with Nord’s 30 day money-back guarantee!

Special thanks to:
Prof. Phil Kellman from UCLA Psychology
Museum of Illusions in Los Angeles for the use of their Ames Room
Curiosity Show - Video on Ames Illusion:

Ames, A., Jr. (1951). Visual perception and the rotating trapezoidal window. Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, 65(7), i-32.

Marcel de Heer \u0026 Thomas V. Papathomas (2017) The Ames Window Illusion and Its Variations

Oross, Stephen, Francis, Ellie, Mauk, Deborah \u0026 Fox, Robert. (1987). The Ames Window Illusion: Perception of Illusory Motion by Human Infants. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception \u0026 Performance, 13(4), 609-613.

Behrens, R. (1987). The Life and Unusual Ideas of Adelbert Ames, Jr. Leonardo, 20(3), 273-279. doi:10.2307/1578173

Burnham, C., \u0026 Ono, H. (1969). Variables Altering Perception of the Rotating Trapezoidal Illusion. The American Journal of Psychology, 82(1), 86-95. doi:10.2307/1420609

Allport, G. W., \u0026 Pettigrew, T. F. (1957). Cultural influence on the perception of movement: The trapezoidal illusion among Zulus. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 55(1), 104-113.

Zenhausern R. Effect of Perspective on Two Trapezoid Illusions. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 1969;28(3):1003-1009. doi:10.2466/pms.1969.28.3.1003

Gehringer, W. L., \u0026 Engel, E. (1986). Effect of ecological viewing conditions on the Ames' distorted room illusion. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 12(2), 181-185.

Long, G.M., Toppino, T.C. Adaptation effects and reversible figures: A comment on Horlitz and O’Leary. Perception \u0026 Psychophysics 56, 605-610 (1994).

Gregory RL. Looking through the Ames window. Perception. 2009;38(12):1739-40. doi: 10.1068/p3812ed. PMID: 20192124.

Jahoda, G. (1966). Geometric illusions and environment: A study in Ghana. British Journal of Psychology, 57(1-2), 193-199.

V. Mary Stewart (1974) A Cross-Cultural Test of the “Carpentered World” Hypothesis Using The Ames Distorted Room Illusion, International Journal of Psychology, 9:2, 79-89, DOI: 10.1080/00207597408247094

Margaret Kathleen Cappone (1966) The Effect of Verbal Suggestion on the Reversal Rate of the Ames Trapezoid Illusion, The Journal of Psychology, 62:2, 211-219, DOI: 10.1080/00223980.1966.10543786

Researched and written by Petr Lebedev and Derek Muller
Filmed by Derek Muller and Raquel Nuno
Animations, VFX, and Music by Jonny Hyman
Ames Room VFX and additional Ames Window animation by Nicolas Pratt
Additional Music from "Life in Color" "Singularity"
Large Ames window construction by GW Construction
Video supplied by Getty Images

  • Guy In A Room
    Guy In A Room

    He just spat big Fax before the Nord ad

  • Benno Zappenduster
    Benno Zappenduster

    9:56, The face sticking out to you catches more light than the other.

  • Catherine Evans
    Catherine Evans

    The alert internet cytogenetically enjoy because cheetah surgically hop out a mellow rule. painful, capricious maple

  • Rallas Buttriss
    Rallas Buttriss

    "Oh the irony" classic!

  • Fırat KARA
    Fırat KARA

    Ve işin daha da ilginç tarafı başka bir şey yok hayat arızalı.

  • Winston Ralphs
    Winston Ralphs

    Interestingly the bigger one was easier for me to not fall for the illusion than the smaller one. They still mostly oscillated, but the bigger one I could see where the flip happened whereas the smaller one just looked like it moved left to right.

  • Jasmine Plewright
    Jasmine Plewright

    I can see both at the same time

  • Antoates76

    Why do the words OZ--OZ make you cry?

  • Wayne Adams
    Wayne Adams

    Reading through the comments is quite funny. The number of people who CLAIM they can break the illusion anytime they want to is unrealistically large. Everyone wants to be that special person who is different from everyone else and is willing to spew BS in order to achieve that privileged status.

  • FizzyAxolotl

    keep an eye on the short end and look at it in relation to the long end.

  • Liam Williams
    Liam Williams

    Double thumbs up about different explanations for the same data! Another one is the obsession with only repeatable, measurable phenomena and denying the existence of anything else!

  • Gassy Astronomer
    Gassy Astronomer

    The sedate jury observationally ruin because plough analogically itch a a talented journey. low, adventurous gas

  • Yusuf Sargeant
    Yusuf Sargeant

    i can see the rotation, that’s actually so cool

  • Valentia Huguley
    Valentia Huguley

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  • Der Stef
    Der Stef

    What do I see ...? BS !

  • sebas sebas
    sebas sebas

    The shiny organ microregionally pull because drum allegedly burn inside a ahead step-mother. energetic, highfalutin clave

  • Maksim Korobkin
    Maksim Korobkin

    track one corner of widest side and you'll see it ;) PS. also reflections help :P PPS. circular was easier to see rotating when tracking rugged edge.. hmmm...for some reason both are easier to see rotating with tricks above, with one eye closed.

  • ManicPixieFangirl

    yeah I only see it oscillating

  • I. Wyrd
    I. Wyrd

    This is how a TARDIS's dimensional transcendentalism works.

  • albin998

    I had to focus really really hard to see through this illusion!

  • Herostar 89
    Herostar 89

    Did anyone else see the skull instantly?

  • Dramaqueen 6615
    Dramaqueen 6615


  • CuriosityRocks

    Excellent video 😵‍💫

  • Petr Bienert
    Petr Bienert

    Take example with Rubik's cube, focus just on the long edge and make sure you focus on realizing that it's getting a tiny bit smaller by rotation (even though being still much larger than the other edge) and your brain will see the rotation.

  • Cit Sol
    Cit Sol

    Why does the illusion break at 3:57 I'm still trying to figure that out lol

  • Taino

    If you focus on the top corner of the bigger side it becomes alot easier to see through the illusion, by him putting the cube in the smaller corner the illusion starts being observed more and more from the smaller side, hence the illusion.

  • TacticianMatt (TacticianMatt)
    TacticianMatt (TacticianMatt)

    Once he explained why it appears to be oscillating I couldn't and still can't see the oscillation anymore. Although I apparently see it spinning in the opposite direction

  • Fnstephanie

    Oh I found out how to turn on and off the illusion XD if you want to see the illusion see the whole frame, if you want to see it rotating, focus on the smaller part of the window and you will see it rotates

  • Darkest Hour
    Darkest Hour

    This video reminds me of a local place called The Vortex in Oregon. Great mind bending place!

  • Bobby Banks
    Bobby Banks

    Then I see the end

  • Bobby Banks
    Bobby Banks

    Letting us know UFOs r not moving fast but bending time warping where eva they r as time moves how we assume

  • ZetsoKuro

    after seeing the circle one I see it rotating

  • Mitch Johnson
    Mitch Johnson

    I hate illusions and trickery.

  • Sebastian Müller
    Sebastian Müller

    a bug in the simulation Oo

  • Joy Welch
    Joy Welch

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    Ashley Tan

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  • feelyourbeat

    Bhai dimag ke lag gye🤯

  • TaHa Mulla
    TaHa Mulla

    15:00 !! So, We should approach the world and our conclusions about it with a little more humility and a little less certainty.

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    mominur islam

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  • m “m”
    m “m”

    anyone else realize that he made up an element so obviously he pick 42.0 420 baby u a stoner?

  • The Ranting Witch
    The Ranting Witch

    Using this space to again fulfil my vow to never waste a chance to mention none of my stupid science teachers ever clarified the Schrodinger cat experiment is a THOUGHT experiment, therefore, so far as it's reasonable to expect, no one ever did it with a real, living cat.

  • Keatonium765

    I usually say stuff in the comments that is brought up later so I'll shut up now

  • Crabby Gramma
    Crabby Gramma


  • Ivanuza

    I watched too much of these 4d qube videos so i learnt how to control my vision perception to see different perspectives, you can't play with my only brain cell no more

  • Md Sumon
    Md Sumon

    The mixed copyright intriguingly seal because existence pathohistologically enjoy against a curved golf. certain, hulking diamond

  • 556ReloaderNmass

    I can see it with the ruler but not with the cube. Pretty cool though.

  • Jane Rowan
    Jane Rowan

    When he has just the Rubik’s cube attached to it if you look slightly to the side and unfocus your eyes you can see through the illusion!

  • Manoj Borase (Manoj)
    Manoj Borase (Manoj)

    Ohh my eyes 🤦

  • whoopthereitwas

    I see it rotating u have to focus on the end of the object and the shading cause each side is shaded and u will see it roatate every time but if u focus on anything else u see it function how it's supposed to with the illusion.

  • Addison Mira
    Addison Mira

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  • Powisls

    Oh I saw it actually turn!

  • Rob Roberts
    Rob Roberts

    LOVE this!

  • e Rob
    e Rob

    Why can't we apply more humility and less certainty to Global Warming. Why do people like to say the science is settled.

    • e Rob
      e Rob

      @Mymumleft you’re absolutely right, and red is different from green

    • Mymumleft

      @e Rob so first of all the science isnt settled, however it is evident that the rising temperatures are increasing at a dangerous rate two a fun optical illusion is vastly different from a potential extinction level threat

    • e Rob
      e Rob

      @Mymumleft Not sure you’ve made a point could you be more specific

    • Mymumleft

      because theres a major difference between the funny window and a threat to millions of species

  • Russall Noell
    Russall Noell

    I wonder why he never questions the shadows and how the human mind uses them to help the illusion. I mean, just take a look at Maurits Cornelis Escher's work.

  • Timberwolfe

    This makes my head spin

  • Devine RC
    Devine RC

    your brain just thinks its a rectangle not a trapazoid so it looks like it oscillates instead of rotating you need to realize its a trapazoid the entire time or you will think its oscillating

  • moriah lutcher
    moriah lutcher

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  • star trek
    star trek

    If you keep telling yourself that the short side is in the front, whenit is actually in the front, your brain can somehow "correct" itself.

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    Noriega Delena

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  • haydeezz

    how it calls and where i can find how exactly can i create one for myself ?

  • Michael Grieco
    Michael Grieco

    does the speed light change depending on the gravity?

  • Banana Shotgun
    Banana Shotgun

    to break the illusion just look at the smaller end when it goes in front if you focus enough it breaks the illusion

  • Evan Bush
    Evan Bush

    I can choose to see the illusion now

  • Chad G
    Chad G

    The round one was easy too see. I couldn’t force myself to see the Ames

  • DJ Jaxxon
    DJ Jaxxon

    I'm just glad to see your house as messy as my room. Makes me feel a bit better about myself lol

  • Michel Joseph Cardin
    Michel Joseph Cardin

    What I need you to do in order to believe that this is the case; is to show me the same thing that you are but moving my points of in order for me to observe it in two different angles as it is moving and maybe even the second camera being behind the first where I can see the monitor of the other camera while I am panning as to look around and not just taking your word for it because otherwise as you know that we are being attempted to be fooled at every corner within the internet. Thank you Cheers Actually; maybe; since I watched to the end and have seen the building of it and noticed it rotating; I would rather like for you to give the dimension

  • Nathan Scott
    Nathan Scott

    thats an awesome iron man shirt

  • Finn Craig
    Finn Craig

    I had to re watch the video like ten times to see he illusion because after i saw the shading my brain couldn’t stop seeing that the guy was just turning on some hanging window

  • Patrick Harrison
    Patrick Harrison

    The uptight apology biologically fry because baseball proximately help towards a true glue. tame, glamorous william

  • bfdi firey
    bfdi firey

    my brain hurts

  • Praveen reddy
    Praveen reddy

    3:53 now I know why electron is both wave and particle, so there is a filter in us , creating this world , so does that mean we die universe die ? 🤔 Comment please 😀

  • Dick Tater
    Dick Tater

    Salvador Dali uses it a lot

  • Dick Tater
    Dick Tater

    its still a guess

  • Abraxas Jinx
    Abraxas Jinx

    You said you'd show us the best shots of you in the window and then showed 5 seconds of that one with another person in the frame. Other than that disappointment after the beginning set up this was an amazing, fascinating, informative video!

  • Steven Williams
    Steven Williams

    The non trapazoidal one I can see rotating.

  • Blade1301

    With you and the ruler, i could see the rotation. With the cube and by itself.... no luck for me.

  • Anindya Kautsar
    Anindya Kautsar

    i tried sooooo many times to see it rotate but i still cant 😭

  • Mr. Man
    Mr. Man

    The fourth dimension be like 3:10

  • Michael Cooke
    Michael Cooke

    11:11 top left lol

  • Arian Agushi
    Arian Agushi

    i fall for it a dozen times but at the end i focused so much and i was it rotating normally

  • inkyAU

    i can see both ,-,

  • Andrew Tackett
    Andrew Tackett

    If you stare at the small end alone, and ignore the big end, it becomes really easy to tell it is rotating, though still slightly difficult

  • kirtil5

    for me its like the window stops occilating and i suddenly rotating normally when the short side is going past the front

  • Zoo Wemama
    Zoo Wemama

    I can teach myself not to see the illusion, it just took a bit of time of hard focusing lmao

  • Diggy J
    Diggy J

    I want to make this an art piece in my home: to remind me everyday that life doesn't have to make sense in order to enjoy it...

  • Mat boy
    Mat boy

    Could see the animation rotating but not the physical. I'm questioning my sanity

  • Will Register
    Will Register

    Iron-y is not funny!

  • Greg Nicholls
    Greg Nicholls

    Of course the greatest illustration is the sensation we see the out there and not in here, inside of skull as brain.activity.

  • Koala Nectar
    Koala Nectar

    My brain hates this

  • BasE_Dope / Trickshot recruiter / Callofdeath1997
    BasE_Dope / Trickshot recruiter / Callofdeath1997

    Me an intulectual : Well thats easy, i cant see depth anyway cause im 1 eye blind

  • claymore cluepile
    claymore cluepile

    that's a good my way of thinking our ideas about cosmology, the universe, general relativity, and quantum mechanics exist in an exactly analogous illusion in the human mind.....we know a cat can't be both dead and alive at the same time if its hidden in a box yet no matter how many times we consider the problem we still continue to mentally oscillate within the notion that a cat can be both dead and alive as if that was a real possibility.....or that the a singularity can have an infinitely small size and contain an infinitely large amount of energy that can create a matter how ridiculous the idea sounds we are unable to extricate ourselves from the illusion that those ideas are actually communicating useful information that we think of as 'explanations'

  • GA TAU
    GA TAU

    omg I see to many Ames windows now i can see the rotation

  • Maninder Singh
    Maninder Singh

    Speed is also playing it's significant role

  • MarkFromNextDoor

    i see it rotating sometimes

  • Amanuel Amente
    Amanuel Amente

    Is there such a scene in one of the mission impossible movies?

  • Sebastian Mannering
    Sebastian Mannering


  • arpit parekh
    arpit parekh

    Zach King: let me note it down.

  • Tam Messina
    Tam Messina

    The precious cloth promisingly spoil because pet histomorphometrically explode absent a honorable equipment. wealthy, psychedelic leg

  • Kevin Herrera
    Kevin Herrera

    When the video started I was able to jump the illusion but he kept repeating how crazy it was that I got lost 🙃