착시 (Optical Illusions)

This optical illusions video was extremely popular with my kids this week. And it is pretty cool. (There will be spoilers below the video, so watch first before reading the rest of this post!)

Did you watch?

Last chance! Trust me, it’s worth the 2 minutes. Watch it!

Okay. I hope you watched it.

I absolutely loved showing this in class because the reactions of each of my classes inevitably followed this pattern:

Video begins. Chorus of “뭐야?” (“What the heck?”) as we zoom in on the globe. When the big reveal shows that it’s just a drawing, exclamations of “우와!” (“Wow!”). They’re impressed.

Second illusion. The baseball is presented, and there are murmurs of “그림, 그림” (“it’s a drawing”), and then a satisfied chorus of “역시” (“I knew it!”) as the drawing is revealed. No big surprises there. (Which is what makes the final illusion so awesome.)

Final illusion. There’s always a heated debate as the sunglasses are presented – drawing or real? Usually the conclusion (in Korean) is that they’re real, and hence I hear more outbursts of “역시” when the glasses are removed from the table… and just as they’re feeling pretty happy with themselves for guessing correctly… she lifts the entire table up, and I hear the loudest, most astonished, and longest chorus of “우와” yet. I love it.

Side note: Korean kids are probably the best, most appreciative audience you will ever find. Showing them cool stuff is the best because they never just scoff at it like, “Teacher, this is dumb.” As long as the video is reasonably cool or adorable (think extreme sports, baby animals, or illusions like this), they will be suitably impressed, and you will feel awesome just for showing it to them.

I love the artistry in this video because they build up to the final payoff perfectly. By showing two single-item drawings like that and then making it seem as if the sunglasses will possibly be the third illusion (centering all of our focus there), they catch the viewer completely by surprise when it turns out that the backdrop itself is the drawing, and that makes the illusion that much better.

It’s psychology and an optical illusion, and that’s pretty cool.

P.S. My kids loved it when I included the Korean word for optical illusions, 착시, and more especially when I attempted to say it out loud. “착시, right?” I’d say. “, 착시,” they’d respond (and then laugh at my Western accent – not in a disrespectful way, but in an affectionate way).

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