How 10 Optical Illusions Work - Perception Science

How are these buses sized? In 1911, psychologist Mario Ponzo proposed that surrounding cues influence item size perception. Even in flat photographs, our brains perceive depth and size objects proportionately. But these bus photographs are the same size.

PONZO ILLUSION – 

Do you see movement in this image? Psychological effects of color contrasts, object forms, and position make this motionless image appear to move.

ILLUSORY MOTION 

Does this image rotate as you glance around? One of numerous peripheral drift illusions. Motion is perceived by the brain's interpretation of patterns outside the eye's focus. High contrast, light and dark hues repeat to create the effect.

 ROTATING RINGS  

Are you seeing a spiral or rings? Sir James Fraser, a psychologist, described this optical illusion in 1908. It is a collection of concentric striped rings, hence the name “false spiral”.

TWISTED CORD ILLUSION  

Left or right red dot bigger? Psychologists Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered this relative size illusion. Your brain compares size using surrounding dots. Center red dots are the same size.

EBBINGHAUS ILLUSION 

Notice anything about these square rows? The staggered rows of dark and light squares may appear sloping or curving in this geometrical optical illusion, although the lines dividing them are parallel and straight.

CAFÉ WALL ILLUSION  

Do the intersecting lines have dots? What do you see when you look around? In 1994, E. and B. Lingelbach and M. Schrauf identified this optical illusion, which may be caused by “lateral inhibition” in the brain. More research is needed to determine its cause.

SCINTILLATING GRID ILLUSION 

What's the difference in red line lengths? Arrowheads and arrowtails alone may impact line length perception. In this image, those lines are extended to form a dimensional wall design, with the red line in the far corner seeming full wall height and the closer red line not. However, red lines are same length.

MÜLLER-LYER ILLUSION 

Are the red lines straight or bent? Physiologist Ewald Hering discovered this geometrical-optical illusion in 1861. The two lines in front of the radial background look to bow outward yet are straight, parallel lines.

HERING ILLUSION 

What do you see in the image's middle patterned circle? The grid pattern's core and periphery have different lighting. A sawtooth brightness grating peripheral to our area of attention can provide the appearance of motion while our brain resolves illumination cues.

PERIPHERAL DRIFT ILLUSION 

Emma Stone follows Oscar triumph with wild teaser for upcoming film from Yorgos Lanthimos. 

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