Perceptual illusion: is one box heavier or three boxes heavier?
Perceptual illusion: is one box heavier or three boxes heavier?
Delusions are not unique to vision.

read an interesting perceptual illusion on the new scientist. If you are interested, you can try it at home.

this illusion is about people's perception of the weight of objects, and a preprinted paper is published here. The authors of the →

paper did this experiment:

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first, we found three identical opaque boxes, one of which was loaded with heavy objects and the other two were lighter.

specifically, the mass of the three boxes in the experiment is: Abure250g, BGV, 30g, respectively.

then, some subjects are asked to estimate the weight of the box.

the subjects were asked to pick up the boxes twice: one time to pick up the three boxes of ABC at the same time, and the other to take only the heaviest box A.

then the experimenter asked them which situation felt heavier.

then something amazing happens. In theory, no matter how light the B and C boxes are, the three boxes add up to be heavier than the A box itself, but most of the participants said that the subjective feeling was heavier when holding An alone.

in order to eliminate interference, the experimenter changed the order of taking, changed the way of asking questions, and set several different holding positions, such as picking it up with a thread, or placing it on the subject's palm. As a result, there were more subjects who thought that box An alone felt heavier under several different conditions.

(screenshot of the paper)

I haven't tried it myself, and I don't know exactly what it feels like, but the authors say the effect is obvious to themselves, and you can try it yourself. And the operation is said to be adapted from a magic trick, indicating that someone should have noticed this illusion before.

as for the cause of this illusion, the author is not sure yet, but it may be a bit similar to the "illusion of size and weight" that has been discovered before. The illusion of size and weight means that when people pick up two objects of different sizes and the same weight, they tend to feel that smaller objects are heavier.

people are generally familiar with visual illusions, but there are also various delusions in other senses, which can also provide some clues to how the human sensory system works.