Department of Psychology
- Arthur Shapiro specializes in the areas of visual perception and cognitive neuroscience. He did his undergraduate work in Mathematics (Computer Science) and Psychology (Cognitive Science) at U.C. San Diego. He received his PhD in Psychology from Columbia University and did post-doctoral research at the University of Chicago in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. His research concentrates on color, motion, visual camouflage, and low-light-level vision. He is best known for creating a series of visual phenomena ("illusions") that have arisen from this research. The illusions elucidate the connections between perception, the brain, and the physical world, and have been regularly recognized in international contests associated with vision science conferences. Many of his illusions can be seen on his demo page, and at his blog.
DegreesPhD, Psychology, Columbia University
Post-Doc, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Chicago
BA, Mathematics and Psychology, University of California, San Diego
- DOWNLOAD CV (PDF)
- CAS - Psychology
- Asbury - 224A
- Thursdays 2:30-3:30 pm and by appointment.
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Partnerships & Affiliations
Visiting Research Scientist (2008-present)
Consulting Editor (2008-present)
Society for Neuroscience
Vision Sciences Society
Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience
Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities
Arthur Shapiro specializes in the areas of visual perception and neuroscience, and works on topics related to color perception, motion, visual camouflage, and low-light-level vision. He is best known for creating visual illusions that serve to elucidate the connections between perception, the brain, and the physical world.
Honors, Awards, and Fellowships
- Top 10 illusions of the year (international contest sponsored by the Neural Correlate Society)
- Dramatically Different Percepts between Foveal and Peripheral Vision (2008), Knight, E. J., Shapiro, A. G., & Lu, Z. L.
- Perpetual Collisions (2008), Shapiro, A. G. & Knight, E. J.
- Where Has All the Motion Gone? (2007), Third prize, Shapiro, A. G. & Knight, E. J.
- Swimmers, Eels and Other Gradient-Gradient Illusions (2007), Knight, E. J. & Shapiro, A. G.
- Weaves’ and the Hermann Grid (2007), Hamburger, K. & Shapiro, A. G.
- Motion-Illusion Building Blocks (2005), First prize, Shapiro, A. G. & Charles, J. P.
Recent invited lectures "Color is slow; color contrast is fast." Keynote lecture, International Colour Vision Society Conference, Braga, Portugal (July 2009).
- “Separating color from color contrast: the implications for motion and brightness illusions.” Centre for Visual Science, York University, Toronto, Canada (February 2009).
- "Why are we surprised by only some of the things we see? Spatial contrast, color contrast, and visual illusions." Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (May 2008).
- "Contrast, Color, and Neuroscience." Lehigh University, Graduate Sponsored Colloquium, Biology department (March 2008).
Recent conference presentations
- Shapiro, A. G., Knight, E. J., & Lu, Z. L. (2008). "Feature blur in peripheral vision." Society for Neuroscience, Washington D.C.
- Shapiro, A. G., Knight, E. J., & Lu, Z. L. (2008). "Spatial scale models of lightness illusions: contrast, anchoring, and tunable filters."Vision Sciences Society, Naples, FL.
- Shapiro, A. G. (2007). "Temporal and spatial factors that influence luminance gauge photometry." Festschrift for Joel Pokorny and Vivianne Smith, Chicago, IL.
- Shapiro, A. G., Smith, J., & Knight, E. (2007). "Spatial scale and simultaneous contrast phenomena." Vision Sciences Society, Sarasota, FL.
- Judge, Best illusion of the year, Neural Correlate Society, 2006
- Co-curator, Demonstration Night (exhibit of educational visual displays), Vision Sciences Society, 2007-2009
- Shapiro, A.G. (2008). "Spatial and temporal influences on the contrast gauge asynchrony." Vision Research, Vol. 48, No. 26, pp. 2642-2648.
- Shapiro, A. G. (2008). "Separating color from color contrast." Journal of Vision, Vol. 8, No. 1:8, pp. 1-18. doi:10.1167/8.1.8.
- Shapiro, A.G. & Hamburger, K. (2007). "Grouping by contrast—figure-ground segregation is not necessarily fundamental." Perception, Vol. 36, No. 7, pp. 1104-1107.
- Shapiro, A. G., Charles, J. P., & Shear-Heyman, M. (2005). "Visual illusions based on single-field contrast asynchronies." Journal of Vision. Vol. 5, No. 10, pp. 764-782.
- Shapiro, A. G., D’Antona, A. D., Smith, J. B., Belano, L. A., & Charles, J. P. (2004). "Induced contrast asynchronies may be useful for luminance photometry." Visual Neuroscience, Vol. 21, pp. 243-247.
- Shapiro, A. G., D’Antona, A. D., Charles, J. P., Belano, L. A., Smith, J. B., & Shear-Heyman, M. (2004). "Induced contrast asynchronies." Journal of Vision, Vol. 4, No. 6, pp. 459-468.
- Shapiro, A. G., Hood, S. M., & Mollon, J. D. (2003). "Temporal sensitivity and contrast adaptation." Normal and Defective Colour Vision, Oxford University Press.
- Shapiro, A. G., Beere, J. L., & Zaidi, Q. (2003). "Time course of S-cone system adaptation to simple and complex fields." Vision Research, Vol. 43, pp. 1135-1147.
- Shapiro, A. G. (2002). "Cone-specific mediation of rod system sensitivity." Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp. 898-905.
Grants and Sponsored Research
- National Institutes of Health (NIH), AREA Award 2000-2003
- Medical Research Foundation of Oregon, 1995-1997
- National Institutes of Health (NIH), Individual National Research Service Award, 1992-1995
Professor Shapiro’s visual illusions have been used for educational purposes in Japanese television shows, including:
- Most Popular Lectures, Nippon Television Network
- Dreamvision, Nippon Television Network
- The Best House 123, Fuji Television Network
- Amazing Stories, Fuji Television Network
Professor Shapiro’s illusionsciences.com blog has received positive commentary at many websites, including:
- Freakonomics blog of The New York Times
- The Daily Dish, the blog of Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic Monthly
- The Situationist, the blog associated with The Project on Law and Mind Sciences at Harvard Law School
- “Disturbance,” Samek Art Gallery, Bucknell University (2006)
Exhibits for Vision Sciences Society Demonstration Night
- Knight, E. J., Shapiro, A. G., & Lu, Z.L. (2008). "Illusions that illustrate fundamental differences between foveal and peripheral vision." Naples, FL.
- Shapiro, A. G., & Knight, E. J. (2008). "Perpetual collisions, long-range argyles, and other illusions." Naples, FL.
- Shapiro, A. G., Knight, E. J., & Johnson, T. (2007). "’Where has all the motion gone?’ and other visual effects." Sarasota, FL.
- Hamburger, K. & Shapiro, A.G. (2007). "Weaves." Sarasota, FL.
- Shapiro, A.G., Knight, E, J, Palmor, Y., & Mancusi, D. (2006). Swimmers, eels and other gradient-gradient illusions. Sarasota, FL.
- Shapiro, A. G., & Charles, J. P. (2005). "Contrast asynchronies: 57 varieties." Sarasota, FL.
- Shapiro, A. G. & D’Antona, A. D. (2004). "The Winking Effect." Sarasota, FL.
AU News and Achievements
Brimming with Illusions, AU Takes Home Second Place
Psychology professor Arthur Shapiro and doctoral student Erica Dixon place second in Best Illusion of ...
Vision Scientist Studies Color Contrast, Illusions
Arthur Shapiro wins a NIH grant to study how our brain separates color from color contrast and constructs ...