Cheltenham Science Festival

Bath Road, Cheltenham 6-11 June 2017

Researchers from the University of Glasgow’s Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience (CSPE) were pleased to participate in the Cheltenham Science Festival. They demonstrated the latest research in the philosophy and science of multisensory perception through a research stall focused on The Wonders of Perception

The CSPE was pleased to be part of the Fesitval's Discover Zone, welcoming over 9,500 members of the public, including 6,500 pupils and teachers from 95 local schools!

CSPE Co-ordinator: Dr Jennifer Corns and Professor Fiona Macpherson
CSPE Researchers: Joaquim Giannotti, Dr. Neil McDonnell


The feedback we received from the participants and event organisers was overwhelmingly positive, with attendees enjoying the mixture of fun and informative, family-friendly hands-on displays.

I genuinely felt that your stand really stood out among the exhibitors there. I believe this is largely down to the nature of your demonstrations and being able to tap into people’s core attitudes while challenging their perceptions. The demos that you took sparked a lot of excitement in people as shown by the big crowds around your stand every time I went past!
Demos that are in essence so simple are the ones I often think go done very well in these sorts of settings. The simplicity of your illusions, backed by the excellent engagement from your team, were a large part of the great pull of your showcase. Every person I saw talking with your group certainly had a shock on their face when faced with “the reveal” as they tried to comprehend what was happening in each case, be it tried to pick up a hidden sweet in from a mirror bowel to having the sensation of a creepy crawly on the back of their hand! You certainly did a fantastic job at challenging people’s perceptions of everyday features. For me in particular I enjoyed the visual depth-illusions (the face and the building landscape), displayed on the back board, tapping into that feeling of eyes following you around the room… You were great ambassadors for The Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience and more widely for social sciences doing public engagement. I would certainly be more than happy to recommend you to be part of further events across the country.

Our exhibits included:

  • ‘Mirascope’ 3D reflected object
  • ‘Hyperscope’ perspective illusion
  • ‘Reverspective’ Moving Venice illusion
  • ‘Scanimation’ animated transparencies
  • Hollow Einstein mask illusion
  • Jelly beans taste and smell demonstration
  • Spinning motion aftereffect disc
  • Lego ‘impossible’ triangle
  • Auditory illusions
  • Nasty and Nice Sweets

Each of the above demonstrates one or more important principals in the philosophy and/or psychology of perception, creating the opportunity for informative interactions between members of the public and our team of philosophically-trained volunteers.


For more information, visit the Cheltenham Science Festival Website:



This event was supported by