Outreach Event: Explore Your Universe 2016!

A visual illusion favorite: How can a still image move?
A visual illusion favorite: How can a still image move?

What if you saw something, but it wasn’t really there? What if a still image suddenly started moving? Or, if a yellow box was actually brown?

Kids and their families were fascinated by the display of visual illusions from the Psychology in Action (PIA) outreach team at UCLA’s 8th annual Explore Your Universe (EYU) science festival last week. With exciting science demos, fun activities and interesting talks, the event brought science to life for people of all ages.

Visual illusions were the favorite of those who stopped by our “Psychology and the Brain” session. Through a variety of interactive examples, the outreach team illustrated how our brain can trick us into seeing things which may or may not be real. Although most of the time we accurately perceive images using cues such as relative size, light, color, and patterns, there are other times when we may misinterpret images due to overstimulation of photoreceptors or assumptions about the light source or shadow location.

After the visual illusions, it was time to get the blood pumping. The PIA team led everyone in an Instant Recess activity – a 5 minute burst of low-impact dance movements. With everyone on their feet and smiles on their faces, we showed how easy it is to integrate physical activity into one’s daily routine, while having so much fun at the same time!

Throughout the event, the PIA outreach team captivated and inspired the minds of young scientists with their enthusiasm and passion. We are looking forward EYU 2017 and hope to see you there!