THE DECEPTIVE PROGRESS BAR:
While browsing the New Scientist web site the other day I came across this short video demonstration of progress bar trickery at New Scientist
You'll find more about this at the research pages of Chris Harrison of Carnegie Mellon University, Faster Progress Bars: Manipulating Perceived Duration with Visual Augmentations and there's also a research paper you can download for an in-depth explanation.
Isn't it fascinating how easily our vision processes can operate to trick us.
To understand a different aspect of how our optical processes operate, I strongly recommend that you view the Magic Lab segment of the 06 May 2010 episode of the ABC Catalyst Science TV show.
This is prestidigitation unveiled at last!
In the Catalyst video, presenter Dr Jonica Newby advises 'Well I hope you've got your eyes peeled and your wits about you, because what you're about to see will change the way you view the world.'
Look out for things like Grift sense (at about 1min 20sec); the Laboratory of Illusions (at 2min 38sec); everything is an illusion (at about 2 min 50sec); and visual processing jumps, or saccades (at about 3min 18sec).
See what I mean?
Other related episodes of Catalyst are also fascinating, such as False Memories (18 March 2010) which asks how much you can trust your own memories.
Here's the link to the full ABC Catalyst program story archive where you'll find much more to sate your appetite for science insights.