An illusion is a distortion of the senses, revealing how the brain normally organizes and interprets sensory stimulation. While illusions distort reality, they are generally shared by most people. Illusions may occur with more of the human senses than vision, but visual illusions, optical illusions, are the most well known and understood. The emphasis on visual illusions occurs because vision often dominates the other senses. For example, individuals watching a ventriloquist will perceive the voice is coming from the dummy since they are able to see the dummy mouth the words. Some illusions are based on general assumptions the brain makes during perception. These assumptions are made using organizational principles, like Gestalt, an individual's ability of depth perception and motion perception, and perceptual constancy. Other illusions occur because of biological sensory structures within the human body or conditions outside of the body within one’s physical environment.

The term illusion refers to a specific form of sensory distortion. Unlike a hallucination, which is a distortion in the absence of a stimulus, an illusion describes a misinterpretation of a true sensation. For example, hearing voices regardless of the environment would be a hallucination, whereas hearing voices in the sound of running water (or other auditory source) would be an illusion.

Mimes are known for a repertoire of illusions that are created by physical means. The mime artist creates an illusion of acting upon or being acted upon by an unseen object. These illusions exploit the audience's assumptions about the physical world. Well known examples include "walls", "climbing stairs", "leaning", "descending ladders", "pulling and pushing" etc. PPo

Read more about Illusion:  Optical Illusions, Auditory Illusions, Tactile Illusions, Other Senses, Disorders, Neuroscience, Philosophy and Illusion

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Famous quotes containing the word illusion:

    The apparent ease of California life is an illusion, and those who believe the illusion will live here in only the most temporary way.
    Joan Didion (b. 1935)

    He brushed away the thunder, then the clouds,
    Then the colossal illusion of heaven. Yet still
    The sky was blue.
    Wallace Stevens (1879–1955)

    As with our colleges, so with a hundred “modern improvements”; there is an illusion about them; there is not always a positive advance. The devil goes on exacting a compound interest to the last for his early share and numerous succeeding investments in them.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)