Optical illusions, also known as visual illusions, dupe the watcher into believing they're seeing something they're not. Put simply, it's visual deception, and it's great fun.
Some optical illusion creators find ways to boggle your mind in a brain-bending manner, below are a few to get you thinking outside of the box.
What are optical illusions, and how do they work?
Using images, shapes, different coloring effects, light sources, and other variables can create the most spectacular visual illusions that trick your mind into thinking you're seeing something that isn't in fact what you think it is.
One such illusion is the "rotating" cube created by jagarikin, a Twitter user. When you look at the image you believe you're seeing two cubes rotating side by side as the background color switches from black into white. Look again. You'll notice this time that the cubes aren't, in fact, rotating at all.
ついに立体的に動いて見える錯視が完成しました。— じゃがりきん (@jagarikin) February 14, 2020
The black to white color changes are helping to dupe your mind into seeing two cubes going around in circles when in fact they're not moving at all.
It makes you just want to stare all day at the flashing cubes.
In another post by jagarikin, the illusionist explains how the illusion is working. What appears to be little black dots moving at random on a white background is, in fact, a number of black dots moving in the same rotation:
この点、ずっと同じ動きをしていますがさまざまな図形を描くことができます pic.twitter.com/c7Ysjjv56e— じゃがりきん (@jagarikin) June 8, 2017
In this next one, jagarikin points out that the slits make us think Mickey Mouse is present...when he's not:
これすごい・・・— じゃがりきん (@jagarikin) August 26, 2017
スリットの効果によってミッキーに見えてしまう錯視 だってさ pic.twitter.com/nOiKQS65Aa
Now get your head around this one of theirs:
直進してます pic.twitter.com/Zgn3MjCilm— じゃがりきん (@jagarikin) June 25, 2017
As you can clearly see, optical illusions prove to be an interesting pastime, but why do we enjoy cracking our brains open trying to comprehend them?
Us humans walk around the world typically not noticing all that's around us, once somewhere becomes familiar we stop noticing the little things (a sad effect). So when there's an opportunity to really notice and pay attention to what's going on, like in an optical illusion, our brains spark up interest and truly get involved.
"The human brain is really tuned to learning new things," said Aude Oliva, a cognitive scientist from MIT. "Anything that is new and surprising is something we naturally like because it means that we may learn something from it."
Here are some all-time favorites optical illusions to grab your attention:
The Hermann grid illusion: In this one, your brain tricks you into seeing moving gray dots, or shadows of dots, in the white sections between the dark squares. But are they really there..?
The Ames room illusion: You'll surely have stumbled upon one or two of these in your life when going through an illusion museum. Even though the two people in this image appear to be vastly different in size, they're in fact pretty much the same height.
The Zollner illusion: The lines here look askew from one another, when in fact they're all the perfectly aligned.
The Kanisza Triangle illusion: The Gestalt Law of closure states that our mind puts objects that are close together as one related group. In the case of the Kanisza Triangle, our brain even imagines contour lines that aren't there and ignores gaps to create a cohesive image.