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:
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 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.
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.