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Optical Illusions: The Trick of the Eye


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:


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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Buildreps from Europe on May 11, 2015:

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

poetryman6969 on May 06, 2015:

Some interesting illusions. I like the Escher stair cases.

C E Clark from North Texas on May 06, 2015:

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

C E Clark from North Texas on May 06, 2015:

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 (author) on November 12, 2014:

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

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on June 29, 2014:

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 (author) on March 15, 2014:

@stuff4kids thanks for stopping by and reading my hub.

Amanda Littlejohn on March 12, 2014:

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 (author) on July 09, 2013:

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

Tony Sky from London UK on July 09, 2013:

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 (author) on June 28, 2013:

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

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on June 28, 2013:

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

torrilynn (author) on June 01, 2013:

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

ocfireflies from North Carolina on May 18, 2013:

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

torrilynn (author) on March 27, 2013:

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

Rayne123 on March 27, 2013:

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 (author) on March 27, 2013:

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

Aloe Kim on March 26, 2013:

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

torrilynn (author) on March 26, 2013:

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

torrilynn (author) on March 26, 2013:

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

Rayne123 on March 26, 2013:

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

Dianna Mendez on March 26, 2013:

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 (author) on March 26, 2013:

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

torrilynn (author) on March 26, 2013:

@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 (author) on March 26, 2013:

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

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on March 25, 2013:

I love all these fascinating things.

LaDena Campbell from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz... on March 24, 2013:

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!

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on March 24, 2013:

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

torrilynn (author) on March 24, 2013:

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

torrilynn (author) on March 24, 2013:

@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 (author) on March 24, 2013:

@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 (author) on March 24, 2013:

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

cleaner3 on March 24, 2013:

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

Janet Giessl from Georgia country on March 24, 2013:

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

Ireno Alcala from Bicol, Philippines on March 23, 2013:

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.

Rayne123 on March 23, 2013:

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


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