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Virtual Science Fair

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Hole In Your Hand

Have science fun as a family! Complete activities with parental supervision.

  • Empty paper towel tube or a piece of paper rolled and taped together
  1. Pick something to look at. Holding the tube with your right hand, look at it through the tube with your right eye, like a spyglass.
  2. Now, keeping both eyes open, raise your left hand so the side of your palm is touching the tube and facing you.
  3. Look at your hand. What do you see? Does it look like there’s a hole in your hand?
  4. Try closing one eye at a time, if you can. What image do you see through each eye?
  5. Switch hands and eyes! Does it work with you with both eyes?
  6. Be sure to take a picture or video to share in the Facebook comments on the Buffalo Museum of Science or Tifft Nature Preserve pages!

What’s it all about?

Humans have two eyes pointing in the same direction, working together to create an image of the world around us. This kind of vision, called binocular vision, helps us determine how far away things are (depth perception).

To do this, the brain takes the information from both eyes and combines that information into one image. This is a main way that optical illusions are created.

Some people have dominant and non- dominant eyes, so the information from one eye has more influence on what the brain interprets than the other. So, you may notice that the illusion is stronger in one eye compared to the other.

Try It!
  • When you see the hole in your hand, move the tube away from your eye. How long does the illusion last?
  • Ask other people in your house to try out this trick! Does it work better with their left or right eye? Or was it about the same?

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