Most of us love movies but won't have a say in which ones win an Oscar next year. Many of us have opinions about whether Britain should remain in the European Union but didn't get to vote in last week's historic referendum.
So I'm pleased to share an opportunity for which your participation is not only possible but encouraged. Most of us love perceptual illusions and, yes, you can vote in the Best Illusion of the Year contest. (And if you don't already love perceptual illusions, here's why you should.)
From 4 p.m. EDT on June 29 to 4 p.m. EST on June 30, participants around the world are invited to visit illusionoftheyear.com to check out this year's top 10 finalists and cast their votes.
The contest, which began in 2005, is a yearly event sponsored by the Neural Correlate Society, a nonprofit organization with the stated mission of "promoting public knowledge and medical translation of new discoveries related to the neural correlates of sensory and cognitive experience." It not only brings together the international community of perception scientists, neuroscientists and artists interested in illusions, but also contributes to public outreach. The public vote, however, is a recent innovation — as is the requirement that the illusions be submitted in the form of accessible, minute-long videos.
To get a flavor for the power and creativity of the submissions, check out the 2010 winner below — and don't miss one of my favorites, the 2009 winner, "The break of the curveball."
And be sure to cast your vote before the deadline this Thursday!
Tania Lombrozo is a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley. She writes about psychology, cognitive science and philosophy, with occasional forays into parenting and veganism. You can keep up with more of what she is thinking on Twitter: @TaniaLombrozo