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Ambiguous Optical Illusions

Updated on October 1, 2014
Triangle optical illusion.
Triangle optical illusion. | Source

What Do You See in These Optical Illusions?

There are many great ambiguous optical illusions in which you can see two different things depending on how you look at them, or how your brain is wired. I have collected a number of such images, including famous optical illusions like the spinning silhouette or the Necker cubes. All of them can be interpreted in two different ways, so don't forget to vote for what you saw in the pictures after looking at them!

The Spinning Dancer Animation by Nobuyuki Kayahara

Which way is the woman spinning?

See results

This famous animation is also known as a left brain / right brain test, which is supposed to tell you which hemisphere is dominant depending on what you see.

Rubin's Vase

Source

What do you see in the picture?

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The classic figure-ground illusion as described by Danish psychologist E. Rubin. Most people can "switch" between the two perceptions with little effort, so vote for the thing that you saw first.

Duck or Rabbit Optical Illusion

What animal is this?

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My Wife and My Mother-in-Law (1888 German Postcard)

What do you see in the drawing above?

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Hint: the chin of the young woman is the nose of the old lady. This is the first known incarnation of this popular ambiguous image.

The Photographer by Joaquim Alves Gaspar

Source

Is the man walking away or towards the camera?

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"All Is Vanity" by Charles Allan Gilbert

What do you see in the painting?

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Tip: back away from the screen or zoom out to see the skull.

Necker Cubes

How many cubes do you see in the picture?

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Hint: the light gray side can be both the right and the left one.

Good and Evil Ambigram

Source

Which word did you see first?

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Rabbit or Duck Illusion

What do you see here?

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A slightly different rabbit or duck optical illusion. Tip: the bunny ears are also the duck beak.

What did you see first?

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Hint: the saxophone player is in black.

The Ultimate Book of Optical Illusions

The Ultimate Book of Optical Illusions

If these few optical illusions aren't quite enough to satisfy your cravings, check out this publication by Al Seckel. The book contains optical illusions of all sorts, from the kind that seems to pulse, spin, or otherwise move on the page, to ambiguous pictures similar to the ones on this page. Furthermore, there are pictures like the Impossible Terrace, reminiscent of Sandro Del Prete's art, which couldn't exist in reality at a second glance. Whichever type you prefer, this stuff will confuse and delight your brain.

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    • profile image

      Lee Cloak 2 years ago

      Good work out for the brain, thanks! Great hub!

    • marie-churchman profile image

      marie-churchman 3 years ago

      Freaky, Good, weird lens!

    • Aladdins Cave profile image

      Aladdins Cave 3 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      I was hoping for 3D images. What a bugger.

      You know that dancing girl goes both ways! I read something interesting about that dancer illusion. Something about right and left side of brain.

      Still looking at your lens's for something that not techie geeky

      Catch ya later from DOWNUNDER

    • profile image

      sudharnathkoya 3 years ago

      great optical illusions chek out my lens too optical illusions

    • seodress profile image

      seodress 4 years ago

      Really great !

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thing is, that guy is walking away from the camera. His feet look like they are pointed back at the camera which they are not. But... the biggest give away would be his hand on his cane. The was his hand is on the cane, and the way his arm is shows he is walking away.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      wow i love illusions

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: WRONG! His foot shows he walking into towards the camera. UNCLEVER!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Me/Shosanna:Why is there no both option!?!?!?!?>:(

      Suzanne Kate:Some of these are really retarded!>:O

      Calvin:I like the ones where you have to turn them upside down. :)

    • Zut Moon profile image

      Zut Moon 5 years ago

      Nice.

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 5 years ago from Missouri

      Interesting. I love optical illusions.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 5 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Fascinating!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Love this book. A must have for my boys!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      great!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: but if u see the right leg of man its going out but his right leg is coming towards that's y we all r confuse

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: he could be left or right handed, don't u think.....?

    • profile image

      lindsy_syan 6 years ago

      ...well i really lyk illusion post whenever im seeing it....

      ...well it brougth a big essence in mine......hahaha love it...

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      The Man Walking TO the Camera. His other foot is facing the other direction to give the illusion that he may be walking away from the camera. CLEVER

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      When woman spins, my brain make it to spin counterclockwise, then my brain fixed it into clockwise, kinda funny eh? ;D others i could see both ways. first came 10 cubes then i tried to see 6, and it worked too. at animal, i saw rabbit head first, then i saw full body then i can see duck, but i can change it in my mind as a rabbit. Good word came first then i readed whole info then i saw evil, now my brain can't decide :). man walking towards. woman lookin a mirror ( i can see both ways). i saw lady first then i saw grany. but mainly lady. Thanks, Stranger!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @anonymous: if you haven't noticed his foot is turned the way that would make him walking towards the camera.I just thought I'd tell you.

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 6 years ago

      The first duck or rabbit, I don't see a rabbit. The man is walking towards the camera. I only see 6 cubes. Very nice Optical Illusion, I like it so much.

    • profile image

      Iam43d 6 years ago

      The spinning girl is the hardest one but by staring at it I can get her going the opposite direction.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      hey there all rubish they're just shown on every optical illusion page

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      wow wow intrestinggggggggggggggggg

    • DecoratingEvents profile image

      DecoratingEvents 6 years ago

      Loving these Illusions! Leaving an Angel Blessing!

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Very interesting illusions and a clever idea for a lens page. The spinning lady is fascinating.

    • Othercatt profile image

      Othercatt 6 years ago

      Very entertaining! Blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      it's a fun lens though I've had a hard time to figure things out.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Fun pictures to look at. Cool lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @anonymous: then again, look at his feet.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @Mickie Gee: The man has to be walking away from the camera, if you look at how he is holding the cane you can tell.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 7 years ago

      Absolutely fascinating! I could not figure out the image of the man walking away or toward the camera.

      Blessed today by this Squid Angel!

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 7 years ago

      Fun lens! Blessed by an angel!

    • profile image

      Li-Li-ThePinkBookworm 7 years ago

      This was an incredibly fun lens, I LOVE IT!!! Keep up these type of lenses, they rock!

      5 stars, Li Li

    • profile image

      GrowWear 8 years ago

      Aw. Have not seen some of these. Fascinating! Thank you. ...And congratulations on your Giant Squids Summer School graduation. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Great lens, lots of fun!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I normally see two things but did you know that some people can see the spinning lady spin one way then the other? I managed to do it once, but it is very hard.

    • carny profile image
      Author

      carny 8 years ago

      [in reply to PaulaFarris]

      Thanks! I can usually see the both things too, except in the spinning silhouette picture that is. But I thought it would be better to give people options to vote for what they see first, or what they see "naturally" without really trying to make out other things in the picture. Else I expect 95% of votes would be of people being able to see both things and the voting wouldn't be so interesting :)

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Very cool. I have see the woman spinning before. I am one of those rare people who can get her to go in both directions. Well done.

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 8 years ago from Idaho

      These are fun, I think I have seen some ot them before. My mind tends to switch back and forth easy too, except the spinning girl, clockwise only! Great lens.

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 8 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      I always love those and find it easy to flip between both possibilities.

    • profile image

      PaulaFarris 8 years ago

      This lens is awesome! I love optical illusions; they're so much fun. But what about the choice of both for the illusions that seem to switch back and forth between the two options? Just a thought. In the old woman/young woman illusion I actually see both at the same time. Strange how the mind works. Five stars!

    • Teddi14 LM profile image

      Teddi14 LM 8 years ago

      I love this stuff. Great idea for a lens! I love how you incorporated the voting with each image.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 8 years ago

      I love these things. The spinning lady drives me nuts, I've seen her before and I really can only get her going clockwise 95% of the time.

    • profile image

      davidhallstrom 8 years ago

      Good illusuions. I enjoyed them. Worth more than 5 stars.

    • carny profile image
      Author

      carny 8 years ago

      [in reply to molly6342]

      That's very interesting. I can only see her going clockwise. No matter how hard I try I can't get her to move counterclockwise. Unless I use this trick that is:

      http://gallery.krunk4ever.com/v/Animated_Gifs/coun...

      And to get her to move clockwise you could look at this:

      http://gallery.krunk4ever.com/v/Animated_Gifs/cloc...

      Thank you for the comments :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Awesome lens. I love optical pics but that spinning lady still has me spinning cause I really can't tell which way she's going. At times it looks distinctly clockwise other times it looks counter....LOL

    • profile image

      jaye3000 8 years ago

      That was fun~ great lens :)

    • carny profile image
      Author

      carny 8 years ago

      Thank you! :)

    • profile image

      bdkz 8 years ago

      Wow! This is really creative!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      Very cool use for the caption module. well done!