The Illusion Only Some 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 & Thomas V. Papathomas (2017) The Ames Window Illusion and Its Variations
Oross, Stephen, Francis, Ellie, Mauk, Deborah & Fox, Robert. (1987). The Ames Window Illusion: Perception of Illusory Motion by Human Infants. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & 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., & 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., & 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., & 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 & 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


  1. Gian Van den broek

    Gian Van den broek

    Uur geleden

    With the ruler i can almost break the illusion

  2. LiorGames363


    Uur geleden

    If i try hard i can see it rotating

  3. Combee Bowlin

    Combee Bowlin

    Uur geleden

    I'm able to see it both ways but my brain prefers the illusion. Very neat!

  4. isa butchers

    isa butchers

    Uur geleden

    The horses name was Friday

  5. dejablueguitar


    2 uur geleden

    Rectal-Linear... a bit of an oxymoron biologically!! LOL!!!

  6. feyaia vanpri

    feyaia vanpri

    2 uur geleden

    Humm... I'm thinking of ISS and how inside, that's almost all exactly the geometry you discussed in the video. Could this be why it's square and not a tube as is the outside of ISS? I guess we will have to take all this into account as more above earth habitats are built. Something like this video just might be a way to get an idea of how a person that is interviewing for a job in microgravity may or may not be more susceptible to motion sickness.

  7. feyaia vanpri

    feyaia vanpri

    3 uur geleden

    Good demonstration later in the video of how some very talented street artists make such great illusions.

  8. feyaia vanpri

    feyaia vanpri

    3 uur geleden

    Ok Wise Guy, I was waiting for you to demonstrate how creatures with spider eyes or fly eyes would see this. Ha!

  9. QBOX 83

    QBOX 83

    3 uur geleden


  10. N. Henry

    N. Henry

    3 uur geleden

    I laughed so much. Well done, and thank you.

  11. I will defeat Justin Y

    I will defeat Justin Y

    3 uur geleden

    My brain cells: *Gone, reduced to atoms*

  12. Destiny McKinley

    Destiny McKinley

    3 uur geleden

    The ruler actually helps me see the paper moving around in a circle. It makes it easier to force my eyes and mind to focus on what is actually happening, though not much easier.

  13. Markovicsable


    5 uur geleden

    I just could'nt see the rotaton until you changed the background from black.

  14. Denise Anderson

    Denise Anderson

    5 uur geleden

    So much for "Seeing is believing".

  15. Finnley Jack Aja

    Finnley Jack Aja

    6 uur geleden

    when you watch this for an hour I ACTUALLY SAW IT

  16. 3l H4ck3r C0mf0r7

    3l H4ck3r C0mf0r7

    7 uur geleden

    11:13 Time to play Megalovania on that.

  17. Satan


    7 uur geleden

    I was able to see it rotating at about 6:46 and since then i've been able to see through it weirdly enough, I live in a city with many 90 degree angles so maybe since it's circular it made me see it more clearly? I don't know for sure yet but it's cool!

    • feyaia vanpri

      feyaia vanpri

      3 uur geleden

      Hummmm any balloonist out there that watched this?

  18. jaybajan


    8 uur geleden

    FYI anyone watching this video should do so while high, its even more mind blowing

  19. Stoner Penguin

    Stoner Penguin

    8 uur geleden

    My brain must be brocken cause I see it spinning

  20. tomfoolery333


    9 uur geleden

    Anyone familiar with Buddha's wisdom teachings understands the implications of this. The emptiness teachings. Nothing is inherently existent. Emptiness. Dependent co-arising.

  21. miningdust mcgameplay

    miningdust mcgameplay

    9 uur geleden

    Diavolo and Subaru : Are you sure about that?

  22. Je Suis Ce Que Je Suis

    Je Suis Ce Que Je Suis

    9 uur geleden


  23. Miquel Biggs

    Miquel Biggs

    9 uur geleden

    This video explains how we all have conflicting views right now even tho we all have access to the same info

  24. Chilly Jack

    Chilly Jack

    10 uur geleden

    Totally looked like it was oscillating, but then about 2/3rds of the way through I started seeing them all as rotating once I paid really close attention for the first time. Weird

  25. jarno kissels

    jarno kissels

    10 uur geleden

    When you actually can see trough the illusion

  26. Adam Whitaker

    Adam Whitaker

    10 uur geleden

    Visual gaslighting!

  27. Jesse Gillispie

    Jesse Gillispie

    11 uur geleden

    I see the non-illusion.....

  28. Bart Simpson

    Bart Simpson

    11 uur geleden

    If you blink really fast while watching the window it almost is setting completely still and not moving at all.

  29. K


    11 uur geleden

    Idk why, but the first time the illusion cycled around with ruler, I was able to see it going around. But after one cycle, it goes back to going back and forth. Then every illusion becomes clear and I can see it moving circularly.

  30. a name

    a name

    12 uur geleden

    well id say that the solution might be that our brains focus on edges all the time bcs they are much easier to translate. but we can also focus on movement and can predict what an object might do. i tried myself and managed to see the it turning. maybe it does not depend on what edges im used to, it depends on how im used to concentrate on my focus sight.

  31. Henzo1002


    15 uur geleden

    HOLY SHI- help...

  32. Slow Hand

    Slow Hand

    16 uur geleden

    So amazing!!!

  33. KatsudonChan Xd

    KatsudonChan Xd

    17 uur geleden

    what is this

  34. Rowgue51


    18 uur geleden

    The key to the illusion is actually the camera framing, which is the key to almost all of these "optical illusions". They're more camera tricks than real optical illusions. When you went to a wide shot where it wasn't taking up the entire screen against a pure black background it didn't look like anything other than what it was.

    • feyaia vanpri

      feyaia vanpri

      3 uur geleden

      Exactly. Only works with a Head-On view. Still, that Room was amazing.!!

  35. Earth Worth

    Earth Worth

    18 uur geleden

    Brilliant vid 🤩 thank you 🙏

  36. Sho Tor

    Sho Tor

    19 uur geleden

    The fretful design spontaneously sound because hexagon simplistically scold below a possessive chick. hushed, adhesive weapon

  37. Keith Mcmullen

    Keith Mcmullen

    19 uur geleden

    Okay, l know lve no buisness in this chat area, w some very impressive minds. I've something to put out there, in hopes of someone or one's, putting it back. When He said there were infinite ways to get the same perçeption ? Was it ? I know l didn't describe it all that well, but if l had little better of an understanding, different perspective, or whatever.

  38. TymexComputing


    19 uur geleden

    It is just perception perspective illusion not rectangular illusion :). The bigger lion is a lion that is closer to you :)

  39. Jonny Stolpe

    Jonny Stolpe

    19 uur geleden

    This is so awesome to watch, gonna save this to watch over and over. Mind blown 🔥🔥 Thanks for the upload.

  40. Nighthawk


    22 uur geleden

    I work 3D. knowing if something is the right side up, flat, round, square or near, is my job. people who can't tell a plane from a volume should have their drivers licenses revoked.

  41. Elliot Walton

    Elliot Walton

    22 uur geleden

    I had to concentrate very hard, but I was able to follow the short end through its rotation. I'll never tire of optical illusions.

  42. Ben Pam

    Ben Pam

    22 uur geleden

    I focused on the shadow and the point where the ruler and the illusion. I can see it.

  43. Kevin Li

    Kevin Li

    22 uur geleden

    If I focus on 1 side I can see it spinning

  44. Siraj Salyani

    Siraj Salyani

    22 uur geleden

    I forced my brain to see it rotating and now I always see it as both rotating and oscillating. Every time I look at it I get a headache.

  45. black boi

    black boi

    22 uur geleden


  46. Vo Hoai Bac

    Vo Hoai Bac

    22 uur geleden

    The calculating swan expectantly haunt because sentence morphometrically lighten till a unwritten feather. legal, crazy christopher

  47. Red Martyr

    Red Martyr

    23 uur geleden

    if i focus on a small part i can see it how it is, but if i just look without concentrating it looks odd like its defying physic lol

  48. Patty Katzer

    Patty Katzer

    23 uur geleden

    What a fun and educational presentation! Very nice!

  49. tomtomdu


    23 uur geleden

    Acoording time space dilation light would take different time

  50. Khloe Clicks

    Khloe Clicks

    Dag geleden

    The talented plane annually fax because curler accidentally sparkle following a cuddly angora. lopsided, succinct ikebana

  51. Vivliforia


    Dag geleden

    The baby is an illusion. 😆

  52. luuk v

    luuk v

    Dag geleden

    Being lightly autistic has it's advantages I suppose ;)

  53. Umatsu Obossa

    Umatsu Obossa

    Dag geleden

    I can see the normal illusion spinning only with effort. With you inside it, I can only see it oscillating with effort.

  54. Aiden Oo

    Aiden Oo

    Dag geleden

    i get how it works

  55. Brian Santero

    Brian Santero

    Dag geleden

    My brain feels attacked. Stop, sir, for you are confu-u-u-s.. ...*error...does not compute* ... ... .. *click*

  56. saywhatnow comon

    saywhatnow comon

    Dag geleden

    Is it weird that I can see both I see it rotate and oscillate

  57. Steve Thompson

    Steve Thompson

    Dag geleden

    If you look at a bottom corner only, and avoid the whole picture you can see it is rotating. If you take it all in the perspective change of shadowing fools the mind.

  58. Aryan likes to animate

    Aryan likes to animate

    Dag geleden

    You have destroyed my 1 brain cell

  59. American Pancake

    American Pancake

    Dag geleden

    Holy f*ck- that is crazy but very cool.

  60. Linus P.

    Linus P.

    Dag geleden

    I have a headache now!

  61. FL1PDAN


    Dag geleden

    I could easily see the De Heer circle rotating, but not Ames window. I think perception.exe is buggy

  62. owoJurr


    Dag geleden

    i can only see on 1 eye -.-

  63. Xavier Yard

    Xavier Yard

    Dag geleden

    The terrible sock synchronously help because bath additionaly bathe out a draconian canvas. abortive, plausible argentina



    Dag geleden

    11:45 Why do I see both at the same time ?

  65. Fire_Ice516


    Dag geleden

    For the window illusion I see it spinning win I want to see it as it spinning and see it going back and forth when I try to see it back and forth

  66. Swanitharsh Kammari

    Swanitharsh Kammari

    Dag geleden

    Who read this Channel name as VERITASERUM at first

  67. John Osborn

    John Osborn

    Dag geleden

    What does it mean if about the 3rd time I saw the objects spin after you told me what was going on, I saw all of them spinning, not rotating?🤔 crazy! Great video!👏👏

  68. RelaxWithMe


    Dag geleden


  69. Edel Grün

    Edel Grün

    Dag geleden

    Ahhhh my eyeS

  70. Jade Zee

    Jade Zee

    Dag geleden

    i dont see any illusion at all

  71. Ned M

    Ned M

    Dag geleden

    Spent nearly 2 hours watching a 17 minute video.

  72. Kritika Singh

    Kritika Singh

    Dag geleden

    I now know what I'll be doing for science project this year in my school😅

  73. Lemonium


    Dag geleden

    I've been looking at it and somehow I can see the actual rotation poggers

  74. David Cevallos

    David Cevallos

    Dag geleden

    Another amazing video XD thanks for the content :3. Greetings from Ecuador!

  75. erock steady

    erock steady

    Dag geleden

    damn these eyes..! can't unsee THAT. happy new year!

  76. TigerPlayz


    Dag geleden

    Life and us are so mysterious in was that no one could have possibly imagened

  77. TigerPlayz


    Dag geleden

    Yo that is awsome

  78. chul chess

    chul chess

    Dag geleden

    pdf please?

  79. justandy333


    Dag geleden

    11:40 is really interesting. This was one were I was able to see it rotating. However it took quite a bit of concentration. Its almost as if my brain was set to a default setting of seeing it oscillating and I really had to put in some effort to override it. Loose concentration and I'd see it oscillating again. Very strange.

  80. Spielername


    Dag geleden

    Damn you human! You tricked my brain! 🙈

  81. Tim Rose

    Tim Rose

    Dag geleden

    as soon as i muted the video i could see that it was just rotating. a lot of it is that he's telling you its rotating, and as your mind attempts to believe that it is truly spinning, even though your eyes are telling you another fact.

  82. Robert Spears III

    Robert Spears III

    Dag geleden

    Imagine other things in life that "modern life" keeps us from seeing. We may be more educated but that doesn't always mean we see things the way they truly are.

  83. Kate Altman

    Kate Altman

    Dag geleden

    IDK. Once you put the ruler in it, I just saw it rotate, not oscillate.



    Dag geleden

    I knew veritasium sounded familiar and I just remembered its the potion for truthtelling in harry potter.

  85. TANG ZHE HAO Moe


    Dag geleden

    the ruller was speening too

  86. cyberpunk808


    Dag geleden

    Thank you for the video and the message...

  87. Ethan Irwin

    Ethan Irwin

    Dag geleden

    The squeamish check biologically guide because hell customarily appear barring a historical crocodile. panoramic, plucky dollar

  88. BoxMeister


    Dag geleden

    What he says at 15:08 is almost one of the most basic parts of learning physics.

  89. Photo Trekr

    Photo Trekr

    Dag geleden

    Ok, that's weird.

  90. TDATA


    Dag geleden

    Didn't they use the Ames technique for TLOTR movies and The Hobbit? Edit, why did the Ames window look curved? I thought the curving had something to do with the trick but everything you've shown me is flat. Does anyone else see a curvature to the window when it was the small scale one on the table?

  91. Mateus Theo

    Mateus Theo

    Dag geleden

    just the mask was obvious to me the deepness, but the ilusion of retangles was lit

  92. restoftoasty


    Dag geleden

    i have found that focusing on one point defeats the illusion. it ignores the rest of it and then it's just a point moving around

  93. PiethagorasTearem


    Dag geleden

    After looking at it for awhile, I can see the window rotating.

  94. Astral_ Skies

    Astral_ Skies

    Dag geleden

    11:50 My brain: **Suddenly gets it** OHHHHHHH! I SEE! It’s rotating! 5 seconds later My brain: It’s oscillating. Is it? Yeah- NO WAIT! *ROTATING!* Hm. *OH ITS OSCILLATING-! WAIT NO ITS RO- No, oscillating... W H A T.* **confused internal screaming** (On one side, it looks like it’s rotating, but on the other side, my brain gets extremely confused and is like ‘oScILlaTInG???’)

  95. aqdrobert


    Dag geleden

    If you see these illusions, rejoice! You have perfect 20 vision.

  96. Wisdom Jamin

    Wisdom Jamin

    Dag geleden

    If u can't see through the illusion, it means your brain is fully optimized, filtering out useless information u don't need. You should be proud of your brain

  97. smp


    Dag geleden

    I wonder what would happen if they found you with this in Salem, MA in 1692. sorry the dabs make me wonder ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  98. Declan Lawford

    Declan Lawford

    Dag geleden

    The dapper sandra disconcertingly collect because question postoperatively stay after a chemical song. lethal, nippy bugle

  99. Angry_Flan


    2 dagen geleden

    this gets spiritual quickly. is an ullusion a lie? no because truth and lies are below insight and illusion. if a aperson tells you some truths you decorate an illusion not a lie. chakras are the answer here. when you DRAW a conclusion it may be an illusion. always trust instinct. its even above sacred knowledge about some theories, trust your instinct

  100. Angry_Flan


    2 dagen geleden

    also im not without the 4th wall breaking chemical dog here