Akiyoshi Kitaoka

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Akiyoshi Kitaoka (北岡 明佳, Kitaoka Akiyoshi, born August 19, 1961) is a Professor of Psychology at the College of Letters, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan.

In 1984, he received a BSc from the Department of Biology, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan, where he studied animal psychology (burrowing behavior in rats) and (at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Neuroscience) neuronal activity of the inferotemporal cortex in macaque monkeys.

After his 1991 PhD from the Institute of Psychology, University of Tsukuba,[1] he specialized in visual perception and visual illusions of geometrical shape, brightness, color, in motion illusions and other visual phenomena like Gestalt completion and Perceptual transparency, based on a modern conception of Gestalt Psychology.[2]

An optical illusion similar to Rotating Snakes

He became renowned through his Rotating Snakes[3] peripheral drift illusion (see below).

In 2006, he received the Gold Prize of the 9th L'ORÉAL Art and Science of Color contest.

In 2007, he received the Award for Original Studies from the Japanese Society of Cognitive Psychology.[4][5][6]

In 2008, his designs were the inspiration for the experimental pop band Animal Collective's critically acclaimed album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, which features a leaf covered optical illusion.[7]

He was asked by Jeff Koons to provide illusions for the interior packaging of Lady Gaga's 2013 album Artpop, and a version of his "Hatpin urchin" image appears on the CD itself.[8]


  1. ^ under the guidance of the late Japanese Gestalt psychologist and professor emeritus Osamu Fujita
  2. ^ Noguchi, K., Kitaoka, A., and Takashima, M. (2008) Gestalt-oriented perceptual research in Japan: Past and present. Gestalt Theory, 30, 11-28
  3. ^ Murakami, I.; Kitaoka, A.; Ashida, H. (2010-03-19). "Artificial image oscillation enhances the rotating snakes illusion". Journal of Vision. 6 (6): 551–551. doi:10.1167/6.6.551. ISSN 1534-7362.
  4. ^ Kitaoka, A. (2008) Cognitive psychology of visual illusion. Japanese Journal of Cognitive Psychology,5, 177-185 (in Japanese with English abstract)
  5. ^ Kitaoka, A. (2007) Psychological approaches to art. Japanese Journal of Psychonomic Science,26, 97-102 (in Japanese with English abstract)
  6. ^ Kitaoka, A. and Ashida, H. (2007) A variant of the anomalous motion illusion based upon contrast and visual latency. Perception, 36, 1019-1035.
  7. ^ "Cubism on A Pop Song: Animal Collective's Tangerine Reef and 5 other audio-visual spectacles". proxy music (in American English). 2018-07-20. Retrieved 2021-05-06.
  8. ^ Kitaoka, Akiyoshi (2014). "Visual illusion in ARTPOP and pop art". The Japanese Journal of Psychonomic Science. 32 (2): 232–234. doi:10.14947/psychono.KJ00009351489. Retrieved April 26, 2021.

External links[edit]

  1. ^ Like many of his motion illusions based on the interaction between the peripheral and the foveal visual system. Explanation details in German in: Hans-Werner Hunziker, (2006) Im Auge des Lesers: foveale und periphere Wahrnehmung - vom Buchstabieren zur Lesefreude, Transmedia Stäubli Verlag Zürich 2006 ISBN 978-3-7266-0068-6