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Optical Illusions: The Trick of the Eye

Updated on March 23, 2013
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Optical illusions are defined as being perceived images that are different from reality. This is caused by the eye obtaining information that is processed by the brain that gives a perception that does not match the physical measurement of the physical source. All in all, there are three different types of optical illusions: literal optical illusions, physiological illusions, and cognitive illusions.

Literal optical illusions deal with the creation of images that are different from the things that make them. For example, in a picture, you might see three birds that are flying, but the three birds that are flying might form a smile or a triangular shape. Hence, what you see is valid, but there is also another image that has been created along with the physical image that you see. Sometimes, these type of illusions are easily recognized because they are well known and easy to find. An example of a literal optical illusion is below which is of a man and upside down it appears to be a princess:

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Physiological optical illusions are effects on the eyes and the brain due to excessive stimulation from lights, color, size, tilt, movement,etc. An example of this is when you see a grid illusion where the lines are horizontal and vertical lines are white and the squares are black.This effect helps to produce black dots at all of the intersections of the white lines. Another example could be if you see two different patterns of colors, where one pattern seems to be moving even though it is not. An example of a physiological optical illusion is below of yellow and blue alternating colors that are crescent shaped heading in alternating directions in a circle causing your mind to think that the circles that you see are moving.

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Cognitive illusions are defined as being unconscious inferences. These illusions can be divided up into distorting illusions, fiction illusions, paradox illusions, etc. Distorting illusions are images that deal with distortions of size, length, and position. Fiction illusions are images that we perceive, even though it is not the stimulus. Paradox illusions are images that are impossible such as never ending or continuous stairs. An example of a cognitive illusion is below, which shows staircases that seem to be coming from all directions that you can go up and down.

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Fascination of Optical Illusions

An opinion of mine on why we are fascinated with optical illusions is because we boggle at things that we don't understand. Our natural reactions to such phenomenon varies depending on how we receive the information and how we interpret it ourselves. Thus, meaning that some people might see optical illusions as being cool and strange, while others might see optical illusions as being weird and not normal. Everyone seems to have their own interpretation of optical illusions based on their own feelings and perception. Therefore, the majority of us would classify optical illusions as being along the lines of something that we can't explain as to why the eyes perceives the information the way that it does.

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If you stare at the black cross above, you will slowly notice that all of the purple circles will disappear.

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Do you seen an elderly couple gazing into each others eyes, two people sitting down while one plays the guitar, or both ?

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Do you see a partially bitten apple, Steve Jobs side portrait, or both ?

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Do you see a skull, a woman holding a basket over her head, or both ?

References

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    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 

      3 years ago from Europe

      Interesting Hub, torrilynn! When I stared at the black cross, the purple dots only partially disappeared.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 

      3 years ago

      Some interesting illusions. I like the Escher stair cases.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      3 years ago from North Texas

      Forgot to mention, voted up and interesting and shared on HP.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      3 years ago from North Texas

      Optical illusions are always fun. You've chosen some interesting ones here. The Apple on my computer doesn't have a nose in the cutout area. :)

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR

      torrilynn 

      3 years ago

      I love optical illusions as well and I'm glad you liked the photos.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      4 years ago from Western NC

      Like this hub! I'm fascinated with optical illusions - I'm no exception at all. I really like the images you chose to include here.

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR

      torrilynn 

      4 years ago

      @stuff4kids thanks for stopping by and reading my hub.

    • stuff4kids profile image

      Amanda Littlejohn 

      4 years ago

      Neat hub!

      I've always enjoyed optical illusions. Some of these that you give as examples here are dizzying!

      Thanks for a fun and interesting read.

      Bless you :)

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      @compu-smart same thing here, I would definitely like to see a mirage as well :)

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 

      5 years ago from London UK

      I love these optical illusions.

      I'd like to see a real mirage one day without suffering with heat and without water in a desert.

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      @rebeccamealey you are more than welcome and thanks for taking the time to read my hub.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      These are fascinating examples of what I like to call Op Art. Great Hub, and thanks for sharing!

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      @ocfireflies thanks for comment and Im glad that you liked my hub and found that it was classy

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      What an all around classy hub. You provide interesting information in an interesting way. Thumbs Up.

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      @Rayne I agree and believe that they have mastered this concept in order to entertain us

    • profile image

      Rayne123 

      5 years ago

      These optical illusions are a good example of the hand being quicker than the eye. We focus and focus before the reality of the illusion sets in.

      This is why magicians can fool someone. They know and train for the trick they do it so fast we do not have time to focus on how they are doing the trick. So in reality a magician works with optical illusions. the hand is quicker than the eye.

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      @MamaKim Im glad that you liked my hub an thanks for the positive feedback

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 

      5 years ago

      Very interesting hub and I really enjoyed all the examples ^_^ voting up and interesting!

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      @teaches12345 I agree with you that this was quite fun and thanks for commenting

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      @Rayne thanks for the feedback and for commenting and i never thought of optical illusions in that way

    • profile image

      Rayne123 

      5 years ago

      One person mentioned staring at the clouds, I use to do that to and still do sometimes.

      I believe that the forms you see in the clouds are really there. I sometimes have seen the hand of Jesus.

      Not so sure sometimes if our minds work in certain ways or if we really see. If you have faith and believe than that is what you will see.

      Nevertheless optical illusions are perfect tests of faith, belief and mind work. The cross though I stared at it a couple of times and the purple dots didn't disappear for me.

      Everyone is different I guess. I guess if you know what to expect its more likely that is what you are going to look for. They are neat

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      Enjoyed the challenge of this post. I think I need to correct my eyesight though after staring at the cross photo. What fun! Perception is doesn't always tell us the truth!

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      @alwaysexploring Im glad that you've found my hub interesting and amazing and you are more than welcome

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      @justateacher thanks for the positive feedback and yeah there are different ones. Thanks for voting up and I agree with you optical illusions are pretty nice; I love them as well.

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      @aviannovice Im glad that you like optical illusions just as much as I do.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I love all these fascinating things.

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 

      5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      I have always loved optical illusions. I don't think I have ever known that there were distinctive types of illusions -and you explained them very well. I have seen many of the illusions you shared and have been intrigued by them. Voted up!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This was amazing. I loved it! Very interesting and fun to find the illusions. Thank you...

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      @Laurie yeah I was thinking the same thing maybe I should take that part off thanks for the feedback

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      @travel_man1971 yeah I use to do the same thing and it really does help you to be creative thanks for the positive feedback

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      @janetwrites yeah I seen everything too I think if I wouldn't have put what your looking for then most people wouldn't have found both pictures

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      @cleaner3 thanks for the positive feedback and I agree with you

    • profile image

      cleaner3 

      5 years ago

      very interesting hub.. it goes to show you that everything isn't what you see in this world .. always look twice and you might see the truth .. great write Torrilynn

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 

      5 years ago from Georgia country

      I love those optical illusions. I have seen everything in those pictures. Very interesting hub.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 

      5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Awesome sharing of those optical illusions.

      Back in my childhood days, we (my brother, sisters and I) used to stare at the clouds and imagine forms of animals and other objects that are formed up there.

      It's a good exercise on how imaginative the children are.

    • profile image

      Rayne123 

      5 years ago

      I see all of what you said and the elderly couple I see one person in his ear also.

      However when you mention it, one will actually look for it and therefore easier to spot

      Good hub

      Laurie

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