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Learning resources Perception Deception

Swapping stereoHow does your brain take in sensory information and make sense of the world? Is your ‘reality’ different from those around you? Discover the answers in Perception Deception.

Perception Deception will challenge students’ ability to interpret information from their senses. Is what they perceive the same as the students around them? Students will engage their senses, explore illusions and investigate perceptual tricks used by their brain to edit the information it receives to create their ‘reality’.

Students will leave the exhibition with the idea that our brain creates our view of the world, based on our sense of perception.

This exhibition is targeted at students in year 4 and over but can be enjoyed by all year levels. There are 28 exhibits with 60 interactive experiences. A number of exhibits are whole body or hands-on experiences, with additional multimedia experiences.

Main themes

Perception Deception explores four main themes:

  • Audio-language perception, such as how our brain handles noise and language and phonemic restoration. Exhibit example: Does watching a person’s mouth when they speak influence what we hear them say?
  • Multisensory perception, ranging from the way your senses interact and merge their signals, through to tactile illusions with your skin and muscles. Exhibit example: Test your balance as you walk along a line, while wearing special glasses.
  • Visual perception, including change blindness, stereovision, binocular rivalry and brightness contrast. Exhibit example: Do you have an eye for detail and notice things around you?
  • Social perception and how you pay attention to other people and analyse people’s faces. Exhibit example: What cues do you look for on someone’s face when deciding if they seem friendly? 


Online resources are available for this exhibition. Web pages for each exhibit cover: 

  • How the exhibit works
  • Things to try or ask around the exhibit
  • Background Science for the exhibit
  • Finding the Science in your world

Additional resources are available for download:
• Exhibit description summary (184 KB) pdf document icon (PDF)
• Exhibit extension notes (234 KB) pdf document icon (PDF)
• Perception activities to try in the classroom or at home (150 KB) pdf document icon (PDF)

Teachers may copy any material for educational purposes.

Curriculum links

This exhibition supports the Australian National Science Curriculum. Direct links to the curriculum exist for biological sciences in relation to Structural features, Adaptations, Systems of organs and functions, and responses to changes in their environment. Links to physical sciences relate to how light and sound are produced and sensed, and how light can be absorbed or reflected.

The exhibition also supports Science Inquiry Skills and Science as a Human Endeavour.

Teacher Preview

Contact Group Bookings on to arrange your free teacher visit or present your current Teacher Registration Card on arrival for free entry.

Before visiting

Prepare students for their visit by exploring different senses and how our senses provide information to the brain. Explain how our brain creates a model of our surroundings based on this information or our sense of perception. Consider if any of our senses can be tricked or if some senses are more dominant than others. Discuss what types of ‘magic tricks’ are really ‘perception tricks’ or a tricking of our brain.

Visiting as a group

Schools and Groups will have 1 hour in this exhibition. All schools and groups must book to visit Perception Deception.

Perception Deception. Developed by Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre, Canberra.




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