While Jedi mind tricks are still the stuff of fiction (that is, until we either discover a real “Force” or maybe a better way to have monkeys control things with their brains), it is possible to play with one’s perception of the world by utilizing visual illusions. And it turns out that the famous Star Wars scroll itself can be used as an example of one of the most subtle visual illusions out there: the Leaning Tower Illusion.
In the above clip, YouTuber illusionsciences shows how when the Star Wars opening scroll — or something that basically resembles the Star Wars opening scroll — is duplicated and placed next to itself, something strange happens. Instead of seeing a duplicate scroll next to the original, both moving off in the same direction, the duplicate scroll on the right appears to move out into the distance in the opposite direction.
This, of course, doesn’t make any logical sense. A copied scroll should move in the exact same direction as the original. But the reason we don’t see what we should see is because our brains are compensating — they’re finding a way to merge two separate images.
In reality, if one were to look up at a pair of tall, parallel buildings from below, due to perspective, the buildings would converge in one’s “retinal image.” But the visual system takes this convergent image and “corrects” it so that we see the buildings as they really are: parallel, next to each other.
It seems that the Leaning Tower Illusion, or in this case, the Star Wars scroll illusion (essentially a moving version of the former), is due to the inverse of the perceptual operation that takes place in our brains when we see two parallel buildings in reality. Meaning we take two distinct images and attempt to make them converge. But because the images are identical, we can’t do that logically, so our visual system flips (in the case of Star Wars) the scroll on the right, forcing the scrolls to converge in our minds.
Also, these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.
What do you think of this Star Wars scroll illusion? Tell us about your favorite visual illusions in the comments below!