Is Seeing Believing?

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Duration: 1 hour

Series exploring topical scientific issues.

Horizon explores the strange and wonderful world of illusions - and reveals the tricks they play on our senses and why they fool us.

We show how easy it is to trick your sense of taste by changing the colours of food and drink, explain how what you see can change what you hear, and see just how unreliable our sense of colour can be.

But all this trickery has a serious purpose. It's helping scientists to create a new understanding of how our senses work - not as individual senses, but connected together.

It holds the intriguing possibility that one sense could be mapped into another. This is what happened to Daniel Kish, who lost his sight as a child. He is now able to create a vision of the world by clicking his tongue which allows him to echolocate like a bat.

And in a series of MRI scans, scientists are now looking to find out if Daniel's brain may have actually rewired itself enabling him to use sound to create a visual image of the world.

Music Played

39 items
  • Neuroscientist Dr Beau Lotto and volunteer Kim Read.

    Neuroscientist Dr Beau Lotto and volunteer Kim Read.

    The chair illusion known as the Beuchet Stuhl chair shows us how easily our sense of vision can be fooled.

  • Udo Watcher – A volunteer in the 'Feel Space' Study

    Udo Watcher – A volunteer in the 'Feel Space' Study

    At the University of Osnabruck in Germany, a group of scientists have been developing the remarkable 'feel-space' belt which allows the wearer to feel the earth's magnetic field, just like birds do. For six weird weeks twelve volunteers wore the vibrating sensory belt every moment of their waking day and sure enough at the end of their trial all the evidence suggests that they managed to incorporate their new sense, navigating their way around the world instinctively by-passing the need for attention altogether.

  • Horizon: Is Seeing Believing? Interactive Experience

    Horizon: Is Seeing Believing? Interactive Experience

    See some of the cleverest and most intriguing optical illusions ever created in our interactive video experience. They're meant to be fun but they are also designed to help scientists learn more about how we interpret the world around us.

    Watch closely as there will be some questions along the way for you to answer. Be warned though, the illusions are designed to trick you.

    Horizon: Is Seeing Believing? Interactive Experience


Naomi Austin
Naomi Austin


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