The Honi Phenomenon Explained

If you’ve been planning a visit to the Museum of Illusions NYC, then you’ve probably already added “taking a photo in our Ames Room” to your itinerary. It is, after all, one of our most popular exhibits. But, if you visit the MOI NYC with someone that you love, the effect of the Ames Room might wear off a little. You might not be able to experience the perceptual illusion as well as normal. Are we suggesting that you come to the museum with a complete stranger? No. Although the Museum of Illusions is a great place to bring a Tinder date. We’re simply warning you to keep an eye out for the Honi phenomenon.

What is the Honi Phenomenon? 

The Honi phenomenon occurs in the popular Ames Room attraction, which, as you already know, distorts the viewer’s perception of the people inside the room. Because of the size and depth of the room, a person standing on one end appears considerably smaller than a person standing on the other end. Our Ames Room is an incredibly popular photo opportunity for friends, families, and couples who visit the museum together.

The Ames Room at the Museum of Illusions NYC. Used for a blog post about the Honi Phenomenon.
The Ames Room

However, if you visit the museum with your honey, you might notice something strange about the Ames Room. It might just be that when you look at your partner inside the room, you see no change in your perception of their size at all. No matter where they stand in the room, they appear the same size as you’ve always known them. This is known as the Honi phenomenon, and we find it fascinating.

A Deep Dive into the Honi Phenomenon

If we’ve piqued your interest in the phenomenon thus far, then you’re going to love this next tidbit…

The Honi phenomenon only occurs if you are a woman in a partnership with a man. Scientists found that in various couples of the same and opposite sexes, only the women in heterosexual partnerships experienced the Honi phenomenon. They didn’t see a size perception shift in their partners. Isn’t that crazy?

You could probably come up with a lot of theories as to why this phenomenon works this way. We have a few ideas ourselves.

Scientists relate the likelihood of the phenomenon to occur to the level of love, liking, and trust that a person has to their partner. A woman who has a high level of all three is likely to resist a perceptual shift when her partner enters the Ames Room.

Visit the Museum of Illusions NYC

If you want to see if you can experience the Honi phenomenon in person, then grab your lover and head over to the Museum of Illusions NYC. If you want to experience the Ames Room without interruption, then you’re better off bringing a blind date, or someone that you’ve friend-zoned. We’re kidding, but either way, you can click here to book your tickets

Just remember to bring your vaccine card and wear your mask! After September 13th you’ll need it to enter the MOI.

Do you have any thoughts on the Honi phenomenon and why it occurs? We’d love to hear from you if you do!