Night of Illusions

Sydney Science Festival favourite A Night of Illusions returns in 2018 with an even bigger array of mind-bending exhibits. Experience firsthand cognitive and body illusions that reveal gaps in our perception of reality.  Then chat one-on-one with experts about what these experiences reveal about how our brains make sense of the world.

A Night of Illusions began in 2016 as part of Sydney Science Festival. Its interactive format was immediately popular with the public.

“The illusions are first and foremost heaps of fun” said Kim Ransley, one of the event presenters. ” Each experience demonstrates an important aspect of brain science. When you bundle these together as we do in A Night of Illusions, you start to get a real sense of just how much impact these different brain processes must have on our day to day experience”.

What you’ll experience

The illusions cover most of the senses, ranging from the better known visual illusions to vestibular and tactile illusions that many people wouldn’t have experienced before.

“You might feel that a rubber ‘stage-prop’ hand is attached to your body, or that all of the objects in the room are about a metre from where they should be,”  said Ransley.

The event also features virtual reality, as well as live (and humane!) animal displays that reveal how illusion is used throughout the animal kingdom.

Who’s involved?

Like other Sydney Science  Festival events, A Night of Illusions owes its success to the expertise and enthusiasm of a dedicated team of scientists.

A core team of twelve brain and animal scientists, all active researchers in their fields, design the interactive displays.

These scientific experts are hand to talk with interested attendees about the brain processes that give rise to the bizarre experience they are having.

This year, National Science Week funding has allowed the troupe to expand the event and be able to present a new, regional event in Armidale.

“It’s exciting to bring A Night of Illusions to a regional audience,” said Ransley.  “If this goes well, we will look to bring this popular program to more regional venues next year”.

 Event details

  • Experience A Night of Illusions in Sydney on 11 August 2018. Bookings here
  • Experience in Armidale on 25 August, 2018. Bookings here

Guest post by Kim Ransley. A Night of Illusions is part of Sydney Science Festival in National Science Week 2018 and received grant funding from the Australian Government.