Have you ever looked at a certain picture and felt that you were interpreting it much differently than others were when they saw it? You might have come across many images that leave you extremely confused with their visual tricks. All such images are nothing but optical illusions that are aimed at playing with your mind. From the use of color and light to the choice of designs and patterns, there are deceptive images that trick our brains. These mainly take place when the brain is trying to process and make sense of the image that our eyes have seen.
Here, we’re going to take a look at some of the mind-boggling optical illusions that have stumped the Internet. Below, click Next and discover the viral optical illusion that will make you doubt your senses.
Young vs Old Woman
Often considered as one of the most popular optical illusions, this image was created by cartoonist William Ely Hill. Titled as ‘My Wife and My Mother-in-Law’, this image contains the sketches of both of them in a single picture. While some people say that they see a young woman who is facing towards the background, others say that the image represents the side profile of an elderly woman. This illusion is so intriguing that psychologists from Flinders University in Australia conducted a detailed study to analyze the interpretation of this image. The results suggested that individuals of younger age saw the ‘wife’, while the elders saw the picture of the ‘mother-in-law’.
Curvature Blindness Illusion
Images containing curvy or wavy lines might leave you confused on most occasions. What if you come across an image that possibly contains both? In the above picture, most people see curvy lines and wavy lines alternatively. However, when the same lines are viewed over the black and white areas, all of them appear to be wavy. This phenomenon is described as ‘curvature blindness’ by Japanese experimental psychologist, Kohske Takahashi. In his study about this particular image, he attributes the illusion to be a consequence of humans perceiving corners more efficiently than curves.
Café Wall Illusion
Most of us must be familiar with the check-board pattern. However, have you ever felt that your mind is playing absurd tricks with you when you look at it for a long time? This exact phenomenon has been demonstrated as a visual illusion on the wall of a café in England. When you first look at the wall, you will perceive that the squares in the checkboard are slightly misaligned. The alternating black and white squares are not aligned one above the other, hence it appears that the horizontal lines are not parallel to each other. However, in reality, the horizontal lines are straight and parallel. The illusion is a result of the extreme contrasting colors.
Simultaneous Contrast Illusion
The basic cause of the optical illusion in this image can be attributed to its gradient background. This forces the individual to perceive the rectangle box in the middle as a similar gradient, despite it being of a single color. However, if the viewer blocks the background on the top and bottom, then they will realize that the box is indeed of one color. Researchers state that this illusion is caused due to the human tendency to perceive objects with respect to their background, instead of looking at them as in singularity.
Famously known as the ‘Impossible Staircase’, four flights of stairs appear to be linked together in this two-dimensional figure. Therefore, it appears as if the climber would be stuck in a continuous loop of the stairs without actually reaching a higher or lower point. Many researchers state that this illusion can be attributed to distorted perception wherein our brain interprets the figure as one connected staircase and not four different flights of stairs. Over the years, many artists have incorporated the element of distorted perception in their works to add an extra dimension.
Quite similar to the idea proposed by the Simultaneous Contrast Illusion, the Ponzo Illusion also assumes that individuals perceive objects with respect to their background. Moreover, this image plays along the principles of geometry to create the illusion. The illusion was formulated by Italian psychologist Mario Ponzo. First, he drew two horizontal lines of equal lengths. These horizontal lines were parallel to each other. Thereafter, he drew two diagonal lines, the distance between which gradually increased from top to bottom. Due to this, the viewer develops the false perception that the length of one horizontal line is greater than the other.
The Rabbit Duck Head
This is one of the first examples of an optical illusion that we must have come across. It’s the Rabbit Duck Head ambiguity. In this image, there is an ambiguity regarding the beak of the duck and the ears of the rabbit. Moreover, the eye is drawn in such a manner that it fits for both the duck and the rabbit. This optical illusion is an example of the sense of perception wherein the first impression depends upon how an individual perceives the image. Further studies on this theory were conducted by Ludwig Wittgenstein, a philosopher who researched the different ways in which people perceive things.