Matthew Tompkins

Seeing through illusions

Is seeing believing? Is believing seeing? How much can we trust the apparent truth of our senses?

Most of us feel like we have a pretty good understanding of how we see and remember the world around us. After all, we successfully use our perceptions and memories to navigate our day-to-day lives. This can feel like an effortless ’bottom-up process,’ where information from our senses is conveyed directly to our brains. But the truth is somewhat weirder- and, for better or worse, illusions play an integral part in how we perceive and remember events. This disconnect between how people believe their perceptions operate and how they genuinely operates can have serious practical consequences.

Before becoming a researcher, I used to work professionally as a magician, and today my job involves developing and running experiments that combine tricks and illusions with more traditional behavioral science methods to explore how people form beliefs about the world.


Matthew Tompkins, postdoctoral Researcher in the Choice Blindness Lab at Lund University’s Cognitive Sciences Department (LUCS).

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