Optical Illusions That Stump Even The Smartest People

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Floating Speech: What in the world is going on in this photo…who is she giving a speech to? Who is that armed guard in the background? Most importantly, HOW IS SHE FLOATING?! Oh, oh wait… We get it now. Look closely at the details…

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

The Man of Many Faces: The presence of multiple eyes and lips contrasted against a single nose and single pair of ears has circulated this crazy optical illusion across the globe.

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Landscaping Illusion: If you view this city green space in Paris, France from one very specific angle – you’re treated to this masterpiece! This globe-like patch of grass is created in such a fashion that it really does look like a floating ball of grass.

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

 

Negative Image: Stare at the dots at the center of the woman’s face for 30 seconds. Immediately  look at a clear wall afterwards. This is another instance of the wild possibilities of the negative afterimage affect.

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Where’d She Go?: This is a once in a lifetime type of shot, where the mirror reflection lines up perfectly with what would have been behind the person if there was no mirror. This is actually pretty stunning. What an optical illusion from the artist!

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Wait, What?: This isn’t the traditional optical illusion, but it’s still messing with our brains. How is she holding herself up…sure not by her feet, right? Oh…okay, we see it now. It all makes sense. Do you see it?

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Sunken Hallway: Believe it or not, this hallway is dead even. But even though that is the case, there’s no way we’d choose to walk over the right side of the hallway!

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Infinity Game: Take a few breaths before you dive into this and try to figure it out. Our shoulders are sore just thinking about this one. It’s actually not too difficult to conceive once you see it, but it still makes one cool optical illusion.

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Cafe Wall: Are the lines slanted or parallel? You can see the line between two black tiles or two white ones, but it’s not quite as easy to see it between a black tile and a white tile. It makes the tiles look wider in one end and narrow at the other and creates the illusion of slant lines.

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Illusory Motion: Why are the dots moving? Well…focus in on one specific spot, and they’ll stop. How does that happen? Illusory motion. Illusory motion is the appearance of movement in a static image.

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Frasier Illusion: From our friends at PC mag, “This is the Fraser spiral illusion. Despite what your eyes tell you, the spiral is actually a series of concentric circles. The background pattern makes the picture so confusing your brain fills in information that isn’t really there.”

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Checker Shadow Illusion – Part 1: Which is darker, square A or square B?

NEXT: Click through to see how this works, and what the answer is!

 

Checker Shadow Illusion – Part 2: Which is darker, square A or square B? If you said that square A is darker – you’re wrong! They’re the same shade. According to MIT, the proximity of light and dark squares and soft shadows fools the brain.

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

 

Real-World Illusion: Quick, what do you see! Although it definitely looks like a man in tight pants hugging the shoulders of the woman in a red shirt…it’s actually the other way around! Do you see it?

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Jastrow Illusion: Joseph Jastrow discovered this illusion. Business Insider states, “The two tracks appear to be different sizes when the shorter side of one track is directly next to the longer side of the other, but when one is placed on top of the other, it’s clear that they’re the same size.”

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

 

Rotating Snakes: It’s weird how the image is moving on it’s own isn’t it…Created by Japanese psychologist and professor Akiyoshi Kitaoka in 2003, this optical illusion is trippy. But wait. It’s not moving! It’s actually completely still.

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

The Wife and The Mother: Quick, what do you see? If you’re like most, you’re looking at an image of a young woman with her face turned away from the artist. But look again. The necklace around the woman’s neck is the mouth of the “mother”….can you see it?

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Impossible Triangle: Go ahead, try to track this thing all around. The impossible triangle is just that, impossible. Properly known as the Penrose triangle, this optical illusion was first created by the Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvärd in 1934.

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

 

Waterfall: Similar to that of the impossible triangle, the waterfall features an impossible climb that features the water fall’s top and bottom appearing on the same level. An impressive trick of artwork to create this masterful optical illusion!

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

The Ponzo Illusion: Which line is longer? Thanks to linear perspective – the two vertical, parallel lines appear to be coming closer as they drawn away, and we think that the top line is further in the distance. But in reality, they’re the same size!

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Read It: Your brain just went, “A bird in the hand” – didn’t it? Well, odds are, you skipped the second ‘the’…pretty crazy! Our brains visualize the shape of letters and ‘autofill’ the sentence before we actually read it. So, next time read carefully!

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

The Cornsweet Illusion: What color is each tablet? Now…place your finger over the white line, and answer the question again. They’re the same color! When looking at something we perceive its color relative to other objects in its area and lighting.

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

L’egs-istential Quandary: Another awesome that is pretty straight forward, and yet so complex that it took us a few minutes to fully appreciate what’s going on here. Impressive optical illusion from the artist!

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Troxler Effect: Stare at the center of the fuzzy picture above without blinking. After a few seconds, the image starts to fade away? Trippy! In 1804, Swiss physician Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler discovered that our brain’s neurons stop responding to not changing stimuli. Wild!

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Ebbinghaus Illusion: Focus on the orange circles. Vision uses context to decide if something is small or just far away – so the orange dots surrounded by different size dots make the orange dots appear bigger and smaller than they are. But in reality, they’re the same size!

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Siamese Twins?: This is some fun, mind-bending train of thought here. This optical illusion is fairly simply to understand right out of the gate, but that doesn’t make it any less fun to look at. How cool!

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

The Poggendorff Illusion – Part 1: Does the red line line up with the black line, or does the blue one?

NEXT: Click through to see how what the answer is!

The Poggendorff Illusion – Part 2: Is that the answer you thought it would be?!

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Duck or Rabbit?: This one doesn’t play off of brain capabilities as much as it is simply an intelligent use of artwork to provide multiple options. Which one do you see, the rabbit or the duck?

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Hidden Messages: View this from a far distance, or shake your head rapidly for a few seconds and then look at this. What do you see? Pretty funny, huh? The reason this works is that “there’s a high contrast between the black lines and the white background and thus we don’t see the mid-tones.”

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

The Circles: What color are the circles? Dr. David Novick created this optical illusion in 2018, and it took the internet by storm. Well….maybe you have learned to expect the unexpected, but they are all the same color!

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

The Impossible Trident: This one speaks for itself. Go ahead, try to trace the tines of the fork up and down the structure. Can you see how this lands on the list of best optical illusions?

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Funky Newspaper: How cool is this! Although at first glance it looks like a regular newspaper, look in the middle. The designers of this paper have transformed the sections to replicate a model kitchen. That’s amazing.

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Rubin Vase Illusion: Which do you see, a face or a vase? Whichever you see first – look for the other one now! An awesome trick of the artist’s play on your brain.

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Up or Down?: Well, what’s the answer? Is the cat going up the stairs or down the stairs? Only you can decide…

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Who’s Hugging Who? – Part 1: Our brain hurts from this one. Can you figure it out?

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Who’s Hugging Who? – Part 2: Make sense now?

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Self-Fixing Grid: Broken around the edges, this grid isn’t quite so pretty. But stare in the middle for 10-15 seconds. What happens? The grid fixes itself! How cool is that.

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Dots: How many dots do you count? The answer is none. Although it appears that there are dots in between the corners of each square thanks to the phenomenon of scintillating grid illusion. Scientist actually have no consensus on why this illusion works.

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

The Bulge: From our friends at PC Mag, “Here’s an illusion utilizing the Dynamic Luminance-Gradient Effect, and it requires your participation. Move closer to the screen and you’ll see the white shade in the middle explode in luminance.”

NEXT: This next one is almost hard to believe…

Spinning Dancer: Which direction is she turning into? Watch for 20 seconds or so. The spinning dancer appears to change the direction of the spin suddenly. You can see the dancer spinning both to the left, and to the right. The illusion is related to the bistable perception.

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Watercolor Illusion: Why does the set of images on the right side look like watercolors? It’s because these polygons have a border made of a bright line, bordered by a darker line of a complementary color. Your brain is tricked into “filling in” the shape with the brighter color.

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…

Kanizsa Triangle: You know that triangle in the middle doesn’t exist, right? The clear-is one – it’s not really there. Your brain is employing the phantom edge phenomenon to draw the edges around a triangle that only seems like it’s real.

NEXT: Your brain is going to hurt after this next one…


The Pac-Man Illusion: Stare at the black plus-sign for a little bit. You will start to see a green dot circling around. The effect occurs when our perceptual system is trying to fill the gap, and the disappearance of the pink dots creates the appearance of the green one.