An optical illusion uses colors, patterns and lights to create an image that can be misleading to your brain. When you eyes capture the image and translate what you’re seeing to your brain, you are actually seeing something that might or might not actually be there. This happens because there is a short lag in time frame from when your eye catches the light and your brain is able to process the information.
Though optical illusions have been around for centuries, more recently scientists have found that specific visual processes in your brain are what tricks your brain when you see an optical illusion. Some optical illusions have been explained by the experts, while others are still baffling to even the best neuroscientist. If you’re ready to fool your brain, have a look at these classic optical illusions and see what you can see.
Find the Darker Square
Is square “A” or square “B” darker? Turns out that they are exactly the same color. That green column nearby tricks your brain into seeing them differently.
White Lines or Grey Spots
When you see this grid pattern, do you see a simple white on black design? Look closer and you might see grey dots appear where those lines intersect. This is because your brain is blurring the black and white colors together in those areas.
Which is Longer?
At first glance, “B” looks larger than “A.” However, if you slide the top image down to cover the bottom one, you will find that they are both the same size. Because “A” is above “B,” your brain tricks you into thinking it’s smaller due to depth perception.
Vase or Faces
Most people are able to first see a vase when they look at this illusion. However, if you focus on the white surrounding it, you can see two faces begin to emerge. Once you see them, you can go back and forth between seeing the profiles and seeing the original vase.
What’s in the Red Circle?
This optical illusion is sometimes used as part of a vision test. Some people can detect the image of a horse, cow or zebra inside the circle, while others don’t see anything other than a red circle. Do you see an outline or a detailed image within the circle?
There’s no doubt this ballerina is spinning around. However, depending on which side of your brain is dominant, you may see her spinning counterclockwise or clockwise. Some lucky viewers can get their brains to see her spin both ways.
Rabbit or Duck?
At 100 years old, this is one of the most classic optical illusions out there. This simple sketch could be a duck or a rabbit, depending on how your brain visualizes it. Which animal do you see?
Zig Zag Panda
When you first look at this image, you probably only see black and white zig zag lines. However, if you look more closely, you may be able to see the form of a panda bear within the lines. The illusion continues because if you peer at the image too long, the panda will disappear.
Hidden in a Brick Wall
You might think that’s just a small rock stuck between the bricks, but look closer. Some people will see a cigar or a turtle’s head in there. Still other people won’t see anything at all.
At first it might look like a sloppy tile job. But look again and see if you can see straight or bent tiles. The tiles are actually all straight, but because they don’t line up, your brain sees them as bent.
Depending on how your brain works, you may see hearts that are orange and purple or you might see them as all being the same color. Truthfully, the hearts are all pink. Your brain tricks you into seeing other colors due to the green lines going through the hearts.
A T-Rex Turns its Head
When this dinosaur moves, you’ll have to determine which way his head turns. This video is a few minutes long, but is a challenging optical illusion you’ll love. Skip to 1:30 on this video to see it happen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4QcyW-qTUg.
Which Red is Darker?
You can see red lines on both sides, but does one look darker than the other? This is because your brain sees the red in combination with the black or white, which skews your color perception. The truth is that both reds are the exact same shade.
Spinning or Not?
If you look at this black and white image, the circles appear to be moving. They really aren’t but the pattern of black and white makes it appear that way. Keep looking – it’s pretty much impossible to make them stop moving.