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NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Is there an equivalent with the other four senses to an optical illusion?

Asked by NaturalMineralWater (11303points) July 3rd, 2009

taste, touch, smell, hearing .. do they all have their own version of such an illusion? What are some examples?

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10 Answers

EmpressPixie's avatar

Coffee. Coffee is the scent version of an optical illusion. It smells so good, but tastes….

I actually like it now, but still don’t think it tastes anywhere near as good as it smells—it should taste different!

I’ve also felt things that looked like they’d feel a certain way, but didn’t. And of course, the old Halloween gag where you blindfold yourself and are given peeled grapes and jello (eyeballs and brains) is kind of another.

syz's avatar

There’s that fruit that changes taste, the miracle fruit – that’s the closest I can come to an illusion.

nikipedia's avatar

Sure, I’ve heard of auditory and tactile illusions. I think our sense of taste and smell are dull enough that they’d be a bit harder to fool.

Wikipedia describes some specific auditory and tactile illusions, like the Shepard Illusion (auditory):

A Shepard tone, named after Roger Shepard, is a sound consisting of a superposition of sine waves separated by octaves. When played with the base pitch of the tone moving upwards or downwards, it is referred to as the Shepard scale. This creates the auditory illusion of a tone that continually ascends or descends in pitch, yet which ultimately seems to get no higher or lower.

and the Thermal Grill Illusion (tactile):

The thermal grill illusion is a sensory illusion originally demonstrated in 1896 by T. Thunberg.[1] The illusion is created by an interlaced grill of warm (e.g., 40°C) and cool (20°C) bars. When someone presses a hand against the grill, he or she experiences the illusion of burning heat. But if the person presses against only a cool bar, only coolness is experienced; if the person presses against only a warm bar, only warmth is experienced.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

All senses can be messed with.
Touch: Blindfold a person and put their hand in icy cold water. They’ll think it’s hot if you tell them as much,
Smell: There’s several things that smell similar to each other.
Hearing: People hear audible illusions frequently. (i.e. did you hear that? No?)
Taste: “Tastes like chicken.”

Mariah's avatar

Blindfold someone, hold an onion under their nose, and feed them a carrot. They’ll think they’re eating an onion. Or so I’ve heard.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic that is one of my biggest pet peeves, people thinking X tastes like chicken. Chicken tastes like chicken, and rattlesnake (for example) does not.

arnbev959's avatar

There’s also that rubber hand trick.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra A untrained palate is easily fooled. It was just a tongue in cheek example I used for the question.
That phrase bugs me too.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

What made me ask this question was yesterday I saw “a shape” moving out of the corner of my eye. I knew it was an optical illusion because I was able to position myself again to where it would seem the “shape” moved. It made me wonder what anomalies of society could all be explained by such illusions of the senses.

One time my wife was convinced we had a ghost in our house. Every time she would come home the vertical blinds would move at the back door. I chalked it up to wind at first but then I saw the blinds move with all the doors and windows shut. Of course my wife’s behavior had me spooked so the tiniest bit of ghostly doubt grew in my head too. Eventually we came home to see the blinds move drastically.. no way it could have been wind… what we did see instead was a giant rat run past the blinds and underneath our sink enclosure. Ghostly problem solved. Wife-freaking-out-about-rat problem begins. xD

Even creepier.. after not being able to locate the rats hiding place at first.. the next day I came home to my wife screaming bloody murder that there was a rattlesnake in the house. She ferried all of our boys off to the neighbors and stood across the street from our front door. xD Upon investigation I discovered that it, of course, was not a rattlesnake but a large Gardner snake.. I guess the snake killed the rat because the rat was in the “deep sleep” underneath our sink and the snake looked very guilty. Unlucky for me I wasn’t allowed to touch the snake because my wife had called the local yokel who warned me that this snake could be lethally venomous.

I was like “Dude… it’s a Gardner snake.. let’s just throw it outside”

“No no .. we have to wait for animal control to get here”, he said.

They wanted to make a international incident out of this thing. xD Anyway, all of that is what led me to the question. Aren’t you glad you have the history now? xD

NathanESP's avatar

I can only think of one. Without the sense of smell, an onion and an apple taste the same.

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