8 Optical Illusions You Can Find Online, Because They're Super Entertaining

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If you were anything like me as a kid, you spent hours browsing through books of optical illusions to see what kind of tricks you could play on your brain. Even as an adult, they're still weirdly fascinating. The most obvious example, of course, is the infamous dress that divided the Internet last year; some people thought it was white and gold, and others were totally wrong. But there are optical illusions all over the place, and according to a study published in Psychological Science last month, your peripheral vision might be responsible for more of them than you'd think.

In the study, researchers presented 20 participants with a series of images and asked them to focus on the center of the screen, where an image would appear before a different one would fade in on the sides of the screen. Over time, researchers found that the perception of the peripheral image would change to match the one in the center, so the screen appeared uniform even though it wasn't.

Our findings show that, under the right circumstances, a large part of the periphery may become a visual illusion. ... Perhaps our brain fills in what we see when the physical stimulus is not rich enough," said lead author Marte Otten in a Psychological Science blog post. Basically, participants' brains were reconstructing their peripheral vision based on an educated guess. It's not a problem most of the time, but you can see how it would lead to seeing things that aren't there — or not seeing things that are there.


So what does the illusion used by researchers look like? You can watch it below, along with some other personal favorites you can find online. Have fun questioning reality!