Illusions: What IS Reality?

Theres an artcle going around the intrnet that pointz outthat wrds don’t have two be speled corectly n order too be understud. With txtng and instant masssaging, much ov the world bekoms en illusion.

Bad grammar and sloppy typing aside, there is something to be said about illusions. They make us think — they make us reason. Best of all illusions get the synapses in our brains firing. According to Medical News Today, a sharp mind and strong memory depend on the vitality of our brain’s network of interconnecting neurons, and especially on junctions between these neurons called synapses. Synapses are the points of communication between one neuron and a neighboring neuron, muscle cell, or gland cell. When synapses encounter illusions, there are happy flashes for all. Kind of like friends in the neighborhood keeping the gossip going.

Here are a couple of examples that can drive you nuts:

Cafe wall illusion

Café wall illusion – Despite what your eyes are telling you, the lines are parallel. It is due to the high contrast in the two different “bricks.” Our brains tend to “spread” dark zones into light zones, a function known as irradiation. This “movement” is what causes a false warping effect.


Blivet illusion – a blivet is an undecipherable figure, an optical illusion and an impossible object. It appears to have three cylindrical prongs at one end which then mysteriously transform into two rectangular prongs at the other end.


Bezold effect – a color seems different due to its adjacent colors. The red is the same color on both sides of the picture.



Ebbinghaus illusion – an illusion related to relative size perception. Both center circles are the same size.


Hermann Grid

Hermann Grid illusion – ghost-like grey dots appear in the middle of the black squares on a white background. They really are not part of the image.


Necker cube –a simple wire-frame drawing of a cube with no visual cues as to its orientation, so it can be interpreted to have either the lower-left or the upper-right square as its front side.


Peripheral drift illusion – Occurs because of the slight differences in time it takes to process different luminances (how intense the light is from a particular area). This picture is not moving nor wavy.


 Ponzo illusion – This illusion  takes advantage of the human brain’s use of background to judge an object’s size. The lines are the same size.


Watercolor illusion – A dark chromatic color outlines a figure flanked in the brighter chromatic color. The brighter color spreads into all the enclosed area, thus the use of the phrase “melting colors,” as you see the color fill up the enclosed shape. The center is the same color as the outside.


Fraser spiral illusion – Run your finger around one spin. Despite what your eyes tell you, the spiral is actually a series of concentric circles. The background pattern makes the picture so confusing that your brain just fills in information that isn’t really there.


Floating leaves – the “leaves” appear to move around in waves as you look at the image. If you stop and stare at the image, you should get the leaves to stay still. The illusion of movement comes from the heavy contrast in the colors.


I’m sure there are dozens of other examples of our brain outrunning the truth. While this could lead to hours worth of debate, discussion, and speculation, just know not to always believe what you see. 

Life sometimes is an illusion.  And sometimes there’s nothing wrong with that. 

15 thoughts on “Illusions: What IS Reality?

  1. When you are 60 + and you take a look in the mirror you think : no this can’t be true!!!! I’m only 30 something, my eyes are fooling me lol !!


  2. I know! I know there is a “logical” explanation for what we see as illusions, but I love being fooled by my own brain. Of course, the older I get, the more my brain fools me….


  3. I cannot believe how our minds make instant decisions on what it thinks it sees… vs what is really there. I had to hold my finger on the spiral to make sure it was a circle, not a spiral. It was! Amazing!


  4. Ha! I know! I originally wrote a post similar to this one a few years ago for my work blog, and included some products that went along with it. But this one was so much more fun!


  5. We see what we think we see, not how it really is, our mind plays games with us. That is one of the first things you learn in art school.But the ones you are showing here they make me dizzy 😀


  6. always as couple of steps ahead of me Claudia ….I am working on a video on based on the Stroop effect The Stroop Effect, named after John Ridley Stroop, is a demonstration of the reaction time of a task and is often used to illustrate the nature of automatic processing versus conscious visual control. It was first published in 1935. Thanks as ever for this …. happy holidays ….2020 will be a banner year for sure…!


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