The illusion of toppling skyscrapers in Hong Kong is now yielding insights on how the brain distinguishes up from down, researchers say.
A popular way to gaze at the Hong Kong skyline that millions of people take advantage of every year is to ride a tram there up Victoria Peak, the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island.
“On one trip, I noticed that the city’s skyscrapers next to the tram started to appear very tilted, as if they were falling, which anyone with common sense knows is impossible,” said lead researcher Chia-huei Tseng, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Hong Kong. “The gasps of the other passengers told me I wasn’t the only one seeing it.”
The skyscrapers appear to fall away from passengers, toward the peak of the mountain, where the tram goes, Tseng explained.
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