How does an Ames Room work?


How does an Ames Room work?

In: Physics

Something that might help you understand the Ames room effect is that our brain loves taking shortcuts. The more that it can think less about, the more that it can fill in based on its past experience, the better.

How does this apply to the Ames room? Well, when you look at a room, you expect that it’s a cuboid, right? That the rear corners exist in the same horizontal plane, equally far from the eye. However, the Ames room is specifically constructed so that while this *appears* to be the case, one corner is actually farther away from you than the other.

Thus, when a person stands at the true far corner of the room, the mismatch between the distances (where the corner *is* versus where we *perceive it to be*) makes it appear to us as though the person is far shorter than normal. When the person walks from the far corner to the near corner, they appear to become far taller than normal. The room’s geometry is such that, even though we obviously know people can’t shrink and grow, they nevertheless appear to.

Ames rooms work on the fact that your brain actually guesses at the sizes and distances of objects using a variety of clues.

It likes to do comparison of typical sizes. People tend to be a certain size, do if the object is a person, the brain assigns a size. Same with Windows. While they may vary in size of they are next to each other they are almost always identical.

The brain also uses how lines converge as defiance increase to help gauge how far away objects are.

Ames rooms mess with all of these clues to essentially lead the brain to the wrong conclusion. Bad data in, bad data out. The windows and lines in the setting *don’t* follow the assumed patterns, so relying on that will give the wrong interpretation of the sizes of people in the rooms.