Ames room

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A distorted room that appears almost normal when viewed with one eye through a peephole in one of its walls, but the floor, ceiling, and side walls of which are actually trapezium-shaped (US trapezoidal) rather than rectangular, resulting in visual illusions relating to the sizes of objects or people within the room. Some viewers experience an ineffable strangeness that is believed to result from trying to accommodate the focal length of the eye to the far corners of the room that appear to be the same distance from the peephole but are not. Also called the Ames illusion or the distorted-room illusion. See also Honi phenomenon, transactionalism. Compare trapezoidal window. [Named after the US painter and psychologist Adelbert Ames, Jr (1880–1955) who constructed the first such room in 1946, although the idea had been conceived in the late 19th century by the German physiologist, physicist, and mathematician Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz (1821–94)]

Subjects: Psychology.

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