Optical illusions, whether used in a magic show or a neat illustration, can be mind blowing and it’s surprising how little we can do to see through them. Here’s how these illusions work and why we’re so affected by them.
Most optical illusions take advantage of how our eyes and brain process visual information to trick us into seeing, or not seeing, certain patterns or images. Many make use of these three easily-exploitable areas:
- Blind Spot: This is where your nerves and blood vessels connect to your eye, so you don’t have cells there to process what you’re seeing. You can’t perceive anything that is in this spot. Illusions take advantage of this by having you close an eye and look at an object, which makes something else, located in your blind spot, disappear.
- Peripheral Vision: When you’re focused on one point, your brain often fills in what’s in your peripheral vision, which means details can be left out.
- Mental Filtering: Your brain makes assumptions based on memory, expectations, and what you’ve learned. An example of this is when you read a sentence with repeated words or scrambled words without losing comprehension.
For the most part, your brain filters this way in order to process information as quickly as possible (so you can react) and so you don’t become overloaded with visual stimulus.
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