Sunday, May 17, 2009

Not that I could hit a fastball, either...

A very cool and plausible visual explanation of the illusion and action of a curveball.  Even better discussion of how this affects the game here.
In baseball, a curveball creates a physical effect and a perceptual puzzle. The physical effect (the curve) arises because the ball’s rotation leads to a deflection in the ball’s path. The perceptual puzzle arises because the deflection is actually gradual but is often perceived as an abrupt change in direction (the break). Our illusions suggest that the perceived “break” may be caused by the transition from the central visual system to the peripheral visual system. Like a curveball, the spinning disks in the illusions appear to abruptly change direction when an observer switches from foveal to peripheral viewing.
[You have to see it to appreciate it.]

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