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The UFOs of October - The Autoki

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					Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

The UFOs of October
The Autokinetic Effect and Group Dynamics in UFO Observations Michael D. Sofka sofkam@rpi.edu
Inquiring Skeptics of Upper New York

UFOs of October 2006

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Outline
1

Introduction A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Outline
1

2

Introduction A Mystery in Stillwater Overview Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Outline
1

2

3

Introduction A Mystery in Stillwater Overview Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Outline
1

2

3

4

Introduction A Mystery in Stillwater Overview Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY Summary Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle
Michael Sofka, ISUNY The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Introduction

;whoami Past president of the once skeptic group ISUNY

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Introduction

;whoami Past president of the once skeptic group ISUNY Inquiring Skeptics of Upper New York (name by committee)

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Introduction

;whoami Past president of the once skeptic group ISUNY Inquiring Skeptics of Upper New York (name by committee) RPI’s “First,” “Second,” and “Third, First Anomalous Phenomena Symposium ” (funded by student union)

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Introduction

;whoami Past president of the once skeptic group ISUNY Inquiring Skeptics of Upper New York (name by committee) RPI’s “First,” “Second,” and “Third, First Anomalous Phenomena Symposium ” (funded by student union) Attending MUFON talk about Stillwarter sightings

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Introduction
A Mystery in Stillwater October, 1994 Albany Times Union: “red and green blinking lights in sky”

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Introduction
A Mystery in Stillwater October, 1994 Albany Times Union: “red and green blinking lights in sky” “whole bunch of people witnessed this”

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Introduction
A Mystery in Stillwater October, 1994 Albany Times Union: “red and green blinking lights in sky” “whole bunch of people witnessed this” “Nobody was drinking; There were no drugs around”

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Introduction
A Mystery in Stillwater October, 1994 Albany Times Union: “red and green blinking lights in sky” “whole bunch of people witnessed this” “Nobody was drinking; There were no drugs around” Lights first seen about 8 pm

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Introduction
A Mystery in Stillwater October, 1994 Albany Times Union: “red and green blinking lights in sky” “whole bunch of people witnessed this” “Nobody was drinking; There were no drugs around” Lights first seen about 8 pm Saucer shaped; size of a dime at arms length.

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Introduction
A Mystery in Stillwater October, 1994 Albany Times Union: “red and green blinking lights in sky” “whole bunch of people witnessed this” “Nobody was drinking; There were no drugs around” Lights first seen about 8 pm Saucer shaped; size of a dime at arms length. Covered by two tv stations next day
Michael Sofka, ISUNY The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Introduction
A Mystery in Stillwater October, 1994 Albany Times Union: “red and green blinking lights in sky” “whole bunch of people witnessed this” “Nobody was drinking; There were no drugs around” Lights first seen about 8 pm Saucer shaped; size of a dime at arms length. Covered by two tv stations next day What did they see?
Michael Sofka, ISUNY The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

A Puzzle

A dime held at Arm’s Length The Times Union article elaborated:

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

A Puzzle

A dime held at Arm’s Length The Times Union article elaborated: The objects saucer shaped; size of a dime held at arms length.

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

A Puzzle

A dime held at Arm’s Length The Times Union article elaborated: The objects saucer shaped; size of a dime held at arms length. Think about this:

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

A Puzzle

A dime held at Arm’s Length The Times Union article elaborated: The objects saucer shaped; size of a dime held at arms length. Think about this:
How big is a dime held at arm’s length?

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Overview

This talk is about UFOs, optical illusions, group dynamics

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Overview

This talk is about UFOs, optical illusions, group dynamics Normal perceptual mental effects

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Overview

This talk is about UFOs, optical illusions, group dynamics Normal perceptual mental effects “Lights in the sky”

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Overview

This talk is about UFOs, optical illusions, group dynamics Normal perceptual mental effects “Lights in the sky” Autokinetic effect and other “Illusions of Motion”

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Overview

This talk is about UFOs, optical illusions, group dynamics Normal perceptual mental effects “Lights in the sky” Autokinetic effect and other “Illusions of Motion” Examples from real life

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Overview
This talk is not about Alien abductions

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Overview
This talk is not about Alien abductions Alien autopsies

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Overview
This talk is not about Alien abductions Alien autopsies Crashed flying saucers

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Overview
This talk is not about Alien abductions Alien autopsies Crashed flying saucers Flying saucer cults

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Overview
This talk is not about Alien abductions Alien autopsies Crashed flying saucers Flying saucer cults Intentional hoaxes

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Overview
This talk is not about Alien abductions Alien autopsies Crashed flying saucers Flying saucer cults Intentional hoaxes History of UFOlogy

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

A Mystery in Stillwater Overview

Overview
This talk is not about Alien abductions Alien autopsies Crashed flying saucers Flying saucer cults Intentional hoaxes History of UFOlogy UFOs as Mythology or Folklore

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion

Autokinetic Effect Perceptual illusion of motion

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion

Autokinetic Effect Perceptual illusion of motion A stationary light appears to move

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion

Autokinetic Effect Perceptual illusion of motion A stationary light appears to move Small eye movements—brain normally corrects

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion

Autokinetic Effect Perceptual illusion of motion A stationary light appears to move Small eye movements—brain normally corrects Affects everybody when conditions are right

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion

Autokinetic Effect Perceptual illusion of motion A stationary light appears to move Small eye movements—brain normally corrects Affects everybody when conditions are right Realistic and persuasive

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion
Muzafer Sherif’s study Study of group norms

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion
Muzafer Sherif’s study Study of group norms Subject individually report movements

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion
Muzafer Sherif’s study Study of group norms Subject individually report movements Groups of subjects converge on estimate

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion
Muzafer Sherif’s study Study of group norms Subject individually report movements Groups of subjects converge on estimate Group estimate persists

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion
Muzafer Sherif’s study Study of group norms Subject individually report movements Groups of subjects converge on estimate Group estimate persists First, inadvertent, study of UFOs

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion
Muzafer Sherif’s study Study of group norms Subject individually report movements Groups of subjects converge on estimate Group estimate persists First, inadvertent, study of UFOs Replicated, easy to influence motion

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion
Muzafer Sherif’s study Study of group norms Subject individually report movements Groups of subjects converge on estimate Group estimate persists First, inadvertent, study of UFOs Replicated, easy to influence motion Exaggerated norms, spell words, etc.

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion
Other Illusions Autostatic effect

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion
Other Illusions Autostatic effect Stroboscopic effect

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion
Other Illusions Autostatic effect Stroboscopic effect Induced movement

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion
Other Illusions Autostatic effect Stroboscopic effect Induced movement Moon or stars “chasing effect”

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion
Other Illusions Autostatic effect Stroboscopic effect Induced movement Moon or stars “chasing effect” Atmospheric shimmering

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion
Other Illusions Autostatic effect Stroboscopic effect Induced movement Moon or stars “chasing effect” Atmospheric shimmering Prismatic effect and rotation

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

Illusions of Motion
Other Illusions Autostatic effect Stroboscopic effect Induced movement Moon or stars “chasing effect” Atmospheric shimmering Prismatic effect and rotation Size/Brightness constancy

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

An active process
Contour Slide Information from sense organs

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

An active process
Contour Slide Information from sense organs What the brain expects to see

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

An active process
Contour Slide Information from sense organs What the brain expects to see This image has:

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

An active process
Contour Slide Information from sense organs What the brain expects to see This image has:
Three semi-circles

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

An active process
Contour Slide Information from sense organs What the brain expects to see This image has:
Three semi-circles Three wedges

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

An active process
Contour Slide Information from sense organs What the brain expects to see This image has:
Three semi-circles Three wedges No triangles

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

An active process
Contour Slide Information from sense organs What the brain expects to see This image has:
Three semi-circles Three wedges No triangles

The perception of triangles is difficult to shake

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

An active process

Elizabeth Loftus Shows subjects movie of auto accident

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

An active process

Elizabeth Loftus Shows subjects movie of auto accident Later asked “how fast” the car was traveling when it “ran the stop sign”

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

An active process

Elizabeth Loftus Shows subjects movie of auto accident Later asked “how fast” the car was traveling when it “ran the stop sign” There was no stop sign

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

An active process

Elizabeth Loftus Shows subjects movie of auto accident Later asked “how fast” the car was traveling when it “ran the stop sign” There was no stop sign Regardless, subjects later recalled a stop sign

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

An active process

Elizabeth Loftus Shows subjects movie of auto accident Later asked “how fast” the car was traveling when it “ran the stop sign” There was no stop sign Regardless, subjects later recalled a stop sign Loftus called this a “leading question”

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

An active process
IFO Drawings Hendry, 1979 Influence of what we believe we saw

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

An active process
IFO Drawings Hendry, 1979 Influence of what we believe we saw Collection of UFO drawings

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

An active process
IFO Drawings Hendry, 1979 Influence of what we believe we saw Collection of UFO drawings Based on what people believed they saw

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

An active process
IFO Drawings Hendry, 1979 Influence of what we believe we saw Collection of UFO drawings Based on what people believed they saw But, this was an Identified Flying Object

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Autokinetic Effect Other Illusions of Motion Perception As An Active Process

An active process
IFO Drawings Hendry, 1979 Influence of what we believe we saw Collection of UFO drawings Based on what people believed they saw But, this was an Identified Flying Object An advertisement plane seen from a distance

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Incident at Exeter
The Story Fall of 1965 in Exeter, NH

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Incident at Exeter
The Story Fall of 1965 in Exeter, NH Multiple witnesses reported UFOs

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Incident at Exeter
The Story Fall of 1965 in Exeter, NH Multiple witnesses reported UFOs UFO followed car from beach

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Incident at Exeter
The Story Fall of 1965 in Exeter, NH Multiple witnesses reported UFOs UFO followed car from beach Visible from back porches

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Incident at Exeter
The Story Fall of 1965 in Exeter, NH Multiple witnesses reported UFOs UFO followed car from beach Visible from back porches Reported to move, rotate

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Incident at Exeter
The Story Fall of 1965 in Exeter, NH Multiple witnesses reported UFOs UFO followed car from beach Visible from back porches Reported to move, rotate Went on for three months

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Incident at Exeter
The Story Fall of 1965 in Exeter, NH Multiple witnesses reported UFOs UFO followed car from beach Visible from back porches Reported to move, rotate Went on for three months Widely reported in newspapers

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Incident at Exeter
The Story Fall of 1965 in Exeter, NH Multiple witnesses reported UFOs UFO followed car from beach Visible from back porches Reported to move, rotate Went on for three months Widely reported in newspapers Subject of book by John Fuller

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Incident at Exeter
The Story Fall of 1965 in Exeter, NH Multiple witnesses reported UFOs UFO followed car from beach Visible from back porches Reported to move, rotate Went on for three months Widely reported in newspapers Subject of book by John Fuller Considered excellent UFO case

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Incident at Exeter
An Explanation? Robert Sheaffer, 1986 Time of sightings from newspaper reports

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Incident at Exeter
An Explanation? Robert Sheaffer, 1986 Time of sightings from newspaper reports Time Jupiter was 20 degree above horizon

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Incident at Exeter
An Explanation? Robert Sheaffer, 1986 Time of sightings from newspaper reports Time Jupiter was 20 degree above horizon If not Jupiter, where was Jupiter?

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Incident at Exeter
An Explanation? Robert Sheaffer, 1986 Time of sightings from newspaper reports Time Jupiter was 20 degree above horizon If not Jupiter, where was Jupiter? No “UFO next to the ‘bright star’ ”?

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Incident at Exeter
An Explanation? Robert Sheaffer, 1986 Time of sightings from newspaper reports Time Jupiter was 20 degree above horizon If not Jupiter, where was Jupiter? No “UFO next to the ‘bright star’ ”? Could be UFO, but no compelling evidence
Michael Sofka, ISUNY The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Mexico City Eclipse

The Story July 11th, 1991, Mexico City

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Mexico City Eclipse

The Story July 11th, 1991, Mexico City Total eclipse, sun near zenith

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Mexico City Eclipse

The Story July 11th, 1991, Mexico City Total eclipse, sun near zenith Thousands of people watching

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Mexico City Eclipse

The Story July 11th, 1991, Mexico City Total eclipse, sun near zenith Thousands of people watching Hundreds? Thousands? see UFO

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Mexico City Eclipse

The Story July 11th, 1991, Mexico City Total eclipse, sun near zenith Thousands of people watching Hundreds? Thousands? see UFO Recorded on camcorders and cameras

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Mexico City Eclipse

The Story July 11th, 1991, Mexico City Total eclipse, sun near zenith Thousands of people watching Hundreds? Thousands? see UFO Recorded on camcorders and cameras Basis of documentary: Messenger of Destiny

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Mexico City Eclipse

The Story July 11th, 1991, Mexico City Total eclipse, sun near zenith Thousands of people watching Hundreds? Thousands? see UFO Recorded on camcorders and cameras Basis of documentary: Messenger of Destiny Considered an excellent UFO case

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Mexico City Eclipse
An Explanation? sky from Baja, CA, Sky & Telescope July 1991 Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Mexico City Eclipse
An Explanation? sky from Baja, CA, Sky & Telescope July 1991 Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter Venus, magnitude −5

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Mexico City Eclipse
An Explanation? sky from Baja, CA, Sky & Telescope July 1991 Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter Venus, magnitude −5 UFO compared to Venus?

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Mexico City Eclipse
An Explanation? sky from Baja, CA, Sky & Telescope July 1991 Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter Venus, magnitude −5 UFO compared to Venus? Long-lasting wave of UFO reports in Mexico

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Mexico City Eclipse
An Explanation? sky from Baja, CA, Sky & Telescope July 1991 Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter Venus, magnitude −5 UFO compared to Venus? Long-lasting wave of UFO reports in Mexico Major elements from US UFOlogy

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Mexico City Eclipse
An Explanation? sky from Baja, CA, Sky & Telescope July 1991 Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter Venus, magnitude −5 UFO compared to Venus? Long-lasting wave of UFO reports in Mexico Major elements from US UFOlogy Could be UFO, but no compelling evidence
Michael Sofka, ISUNY The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY
The Story Unfolded Channel 6:

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY
The Story Unfolded Channel 6:
People said “lights moving”

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY
The Story Unfolded Channel 6:
People said “lights moving” Video footage of rock-steady “star”

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY
The Story Unfolded Channel 6:
People said “lights moving” Video footage of rock-steady “star” Meteorologist debunked

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY
The Story Unfolded Channel 6:
People said “lights moving” Video footage of rock-steady “star” Meteorologist debunked

Channel 10:

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY
The Story Unfolded Channel 6:
People said “lights moving” Video footage of rock-steady “star” Meteorologist debunked

Channel 10:
Moving light

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY
The Story Unfolded Channel 6:
People said “lights moving” Video footage of rock-steady “star” Meteorologist debunked

Channel 10:
Moving light Rock steady image on camera

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY
The Story Unfolded Channel 6:
People said “lights moving” Video footage of rock-steady “star” Meteorologist debunked

Channel 10:
Moving light Rock steady image on camera Anchor says “I saw something the other night”

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY
The Story Unfolded Channel 6:
People said “lights moving” Video footage of rock-steady “star” Meteorologist debunked

Channel 10:
Moving light Rock steady image on camera Anchor says “I saw something the other night” Meteorologist kept silent

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY

The Story Unfolded Arcturus and Capella visible in north

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY

The Story Unfolded Arcturus and Capella visible in north Venus and Jupiter visible in southeast

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY

The Story Unfolded Arcturus and Capella visible in north Venus and Jupiter visible in southeast Exceptionally clear fall air

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY
Followup Ray Cecot, MUFON sponsored talk, 1 year later

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY
Followup Ray Cecot, MUFON sponsored talk, 1 year later First UFOs at 8 pm

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY
Followup Ray Cecot, MUFON sponsored talk, 1 year later First UFOs at 8 pm Got to Stillwater at 11 pm

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY
Followup Ray Cecot, MUFON sponsored talk, 1 year later First UFOs at 8 pm Got to Stillwater at 11 pm People pointing at stars when asked about UFO

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY
Followup Ray Cecot, MUFON sponsored talk, 1 year later First UFOs at 8 pm Got to Stillwater at 11 pm People pointing at stars when asked about UFO Believes that earlier object was “real” UFO

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY
Followup Ray Cecot, MUFON sponsored talk, 1 year later First UFOs at 8 pm Got to Stillwater at 11 pm People pointing at stars when asked about UFO Believes that earlier object was “real” UFO 11 o’clock: could not tell star from interstellar ship

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY
Followup Ray Cecot, MUFON sponsored talk, 1 year later First UFOs at 8 pm Got to Stillwater at 11 pm People pointing at stars when asked about UFO Believes that earlier object was “real” UFO 11 o’clock: could not tell star from interstellar ship 8 o’clock: they could tell star from interstellar ship

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Incident at Exeter Mexico City Eclipse Stillwater, NY

Stillwater, NY
Followup Ray Cecot, MUFON sponsored talk, 1 year later First UFOs at 8 pm Got to Stillwater at 11 pm People pointing at stars when asked about UFO Believes that earlier object was “real” UFO 11 o’clock: could not tell star from interstellar ship 8 o’clock: they could tell star from interstellar ship Could be UFO, but no compelling evidence

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions
Complex Interactions UFO sightings not a single effect!

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions
Complex Interactions UFO sightings not a single effect! Combination of perceptual illusions

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions
Complex Interactions UFO sightings not a single effect! Combination of perceptual illusions Selective recall

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions
Complex Interactions UFO sightings not a single effect! Combination of perceptual illusions Selective recall Group dynamics

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions
Complex Interactions UFO sightings not a single effect! Combination of perceptual illusions Selective recall Group dynamics Influenced by “leading” questions

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions
Complex Interactions UFO sightings not a single effect! Combination of perceptual illusions Selective recall Group dynamics Influenced by “leading” questions Our brain tries to form a consistent narrative

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions

Disclaimer Nobody knows what people saw in Stillwater

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions

Disclaimer Nobody knows what people saw in Stillwater Distant jet? A bright star?

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions

Disclaimer Nobody knows what people saw in Stillwater Distant jet? A bright star? An interstellar space craft?

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions

Disclaimer Nobody knows what people saw in Stillwater Distant jet? A bright star? An interstellar space craft? Evidence for space craft, weak. Very weak.

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions

Disclaimer Nobody knows what people saw in Stillwater Distant jet? A bright star? An interstellar space craft? Evidence for space craft, weak. Very weak. Simple alternative explanations available

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions
After Stillwater Mini UFO wave in Hudson Valley

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions
After Stillwater Mini UFO wave in Hudson Valley RPI’s First UFO, Second First UFO, and Third First UFO symposium

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions
After Stillwater Mini UFO wave in Hudson Valley RPI’s First UFO, Second First UFO, and Third First UFO symposium Many people saw the newspaper article and news reports

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions
After Stillwater Mini UFO wave in Hudson Valley RPI’s First UFO, Second First UFO, and Third First UFO symposium Many people saw the newspaper article and news reports Many fewer people saw any alternative explanation

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions
After Stillwater Mini UFO wave in Hudson Valley RPI’s First UFO, Second First UFO, and Third First UFO symposium Many people saw the newspaper article and news reports Many fewer people saw any alternative explanation Hudson valley rated number 3 for UFO spotting

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions
After Stillwater Mini UFO wave in Hudson Valley RPI’s First UFO, Second First UFO, and Third First UFO symposium Many people saw the newspaper article and news reports Many fewer people saw any alternative explanation Hudson valley rated number 3 for UFO spotting That’s right:

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions
After Stillwater Mini UFO wave in Hudson Valley RPI’s First UFO, Second First UFO, and Third First UFO symposium Many people saw the newspaper article and news reports Many fewer people saw any alternative explanation Hudson valley rated number 3 for UFO spotting That’s right:
Groom Lake Nevada

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions
After Stillwater Mini UFO wave in Hudson Valley RPI’s First UFO, Second First UFO, and Third First UFO symposium Many people saw the newspaper article and news reports Many fewer people saw any alternative explanation Hudson valley rated number 3 for UFO spotting That’s right:
Groom Lake Nevada Roswell New Mexico

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions
After Stillwater Mini UFO wave in Hudson Valley RPI’s First UFO, Second First UFO, and Third First UFO symposium Many people saw the newspaper article and news reports Many fewer people saw any alternative explanation Hudson valley rated number 3 for UFO spotting That’s right:
Groom Lake Nevada Roswell New Mexico Albany New York

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions
After Stillwater Mini UFO wave in Hudson Valley RPI’s First UFO, Second First UFO, and Third First UFO symposium Many people saw the newspaper article and news reports Many fewer people saw any alternative explanation Hudson valley rated number 3 for UFO spotting That’s right:
Groom Lake Nevada Roswell New Mexico Albany New York

UFOs are in the background (folklore)
Michael Sofka, ISUNY The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions

Scientific Investigation Does not start with total ignorance

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions

Scientific Investigation Does not start with total ignorance There is much we don’t know

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions

Scientific Investigation Does not start with total ignorance There is much we don’t know But, there is much we do

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions

Scientific Investigation Does not start with total ignorance There is much we don’t know But, there is much we do What we do know, informs investigations, shapes hypothesis

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions

Scientific Investigation Does not start with total ignorance There is much we don’t know But, there is much we do What we do know, informs investigations, shapes hypothesis This is called: “Making progress”

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Conclusions

Scientific Investigation Does not start with total ignorance There is much we don’t know But, there is much we do What we do know, informs investigations, shapes hypothesis This is called: “Making progress” Skeptics, do a disservice if they pretend to ignore this progress

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Solution to Puzzle
How big is a dime held at arm’s length? First, What does the question mean?

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Solution to Puzzle
How big is a dime held at arm’s length? First, What does the question mean? Big, compared to what?

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Solution to Puzzle
How big is a dime held at arm’s length? First, What does the question mean? Big, compared to what? UFO Context:

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Solution to Puzzle
How big is a dime held at arm’s length? First, What does the question mean? Big, compared to what? UFO Context:
How big is a dime at arm’s length, compared to the full moon?

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Solution to Puzzle
How big is a dime held at arm’s length? First, What does the question mean? Big, compared to what? UFO Context:
How big is a dime at arm’s length, compared to the full moon?

The dime is, roughly, 4 times the area of the full moon.

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Solution to Puzzle
How big is a dime held at arm’s length? First, What does the question mean? Big, compared to what? UFO Context:
How big is a dime at arm’s length, compared to the full moon?

The dime is, roughly, 4 times the area of the full moon. People are bad at judging distance and size without context

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Solution to Puzzle
How big is a dime held at arm’s length? First, What does the question mean? Big, compared to what? UFO Context:
How big is a dime at arm’s length, compared to the full moon?

The dime is, roughly, 4 times the area of the full moon. People are bad at judging distance and size without context If the context is “flying saucers”

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Solution to Puzzle
How big is a dime held at arm’s length? First, What does the question mean? Big, compared to what? UFO Context:
How big is a dime at arm’s length, compared to the full moon?

The dime is, roughly, 4 times the area of the full moon. People are bad at judging distance and size without context If the context is “flying saucers” What starts as a bright star, ends with a drawing of a UFO

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Robert E. Bartholomew & George S. Howard UFOs & Alien Contact: Two Centuries of Mystery. Prometheus Books, 1998. Curtis Peelbes Watch the Skies!: A Chronicle of the Flying Saucer Myth. Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994. Joel Achenbach Captured by Aliens: The Search for Life and Truth in a Very Large Universe. Simon & Schuster, 1999.

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October

Introduction Illusions of Motion Autokinetic Effect and UFOs Summary

Conclusions Perceptual Puzzle

Robert Sheaffer The UFO Verdict: Examining the Evidence. Prometheus Books, 1986. Terence Hines Pseudoscience and the Paranormal: A Critical Examination of the Evidence. Prometheus Books, 1988.

Michael Sofka, ISUNY

The UFOs of October


				
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