Does Age Affect How Well You See Optical Illusions Science Fair Project

Optical illusions are a byproduct of the human mind trying to make sense out of complex patterns. The brain uses what it knows about the world in order to interpret images and patterns. In doing this it sometimes adds to or deletes elements from the actual image to make it make more sense. In this science fair project students will be exploring how age impacts a persons ability to see an optical illusion.


The hypothesis for this science fair project is that the older you are the more likely you are to see an optical illusion. The dependent variable in this hypothesis is the ability to see an optical illusion and the independent variable is the age of the test subject.

Supplies You Will Need

To complete this science fair project students will need a variety of printed optical illusions that range from simple to complex. They will also need three to four test subjects per age group. Finally the students will need a data tracking form.

The Experiment

The control experiment for this science fair project will test a person who is about 30 to 40 years of age. This is the median age for the test group. They will each be exposed to an optical illusion card and asked what they see. The cards will begin with simple optical illusions and progress to more complex optical illusions.

The test experiment will actually consist of three separate test groups. Test Group 1 will be made up of elementary aged students between the ages of 8 and 10, Test Group 2 will be made up of young adults between 17 and 22, and Test Group 3 will be made up of older adults between the ages of 45 and 55. Each test group will be given the optical illusion test given in the control experiment.

Data Collection

The collection of data will be very simple. All the students will need to do is to write down the responses to the cards. They will then need to indicate if the correctly identified the optical illusion or if they failed to identify the optical illusion.

Data Analysis

The analysis of the data in this experiment is going to take some time. This is because there is going to be a lot of data to organize and evaluate. To start with each test group will be evaluated individually. The student will want to find the average rate of correctness in the optical illusion identification test. They will also want to find the average rate of correctness for each optical illusion card.

Students can then determine if the age group had difficulties with any particular card and they can give the group an optical illusion complexity rating of one to five, with one being that they cannot identify any optical illusions and five being that they can identify all levels of optical illusions. These results can then be compared across the age spectrum.

Drawing Conclusions

The conclusions that are drawn will be based on the results of each test group. Students will want to determine if aging positively impacts a persons ability to identify, or see an optical illusion. If this trend is identified then the hypothesis is correct, if it is not present then the hypothesis is considered null and void.

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