USC (US)—The answer to the question of whose curveball breaks harder—that of the Yankees’ A.J. Burnett or the Phillies’ Cole Hamels—may be neither.
Zhong-Lin Lu, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Southern California, along with USC alumni Emily Knight and Robert Ennis and Arthur Shapiro, associate professor of psychology at American University, developed a simple visual demo that suggests a curveball’s break is, at least in part, a trick of the eye.
The idea is that the effect is due to the batters being forced to switch between peripheral vision and central vision during a swing.
Their demo won the Best Visual Illusion of the Year prize at the Vision Sciences meeting earlier this year.
USC news: http://uscnews.usc.edu/