14 April 2010

Optical illusion Wednesday

The ever brilliant Richard Wiseman strikes again. This is without a doubt the most persistent illusion I've ever seen. Click on the image and it will get larger.

My brain is so determined to see spirals that even when I trace what are clearly circles, I perceive a spiral. I don't know about you guys but I cannot force myself to see these circles. Man! These spirals that aren't spirals won't go away.

Human brains are pattern recognizing machines. I say that all the time. As such, the need to see a pattern can override reality without a whole lot of prodding. I'd love a real explanation of this particular illusion from a physiological perspective. Seriously. What structures in my brain are overriding what my eyes see? Wild stuff!


  1. Not only do I see spirals, the center of the spirals is spinning!! That is one funky illusion!!


  2. Did you try to trace the "spirals" with your finger. I cannot get over how persistent this illusion is. My brain absolutely refuses to perceive what it's seeing. I love these kinds of disconnects.

  3. When I try to trace the spirals with my mouse, unless I follow the mouse with my eyes, it wants to "follow" the spiral my eyes perceive. Weird!


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