Can You Pin Down This Eye-Catching Optical Illusion? It May Leave Your Head Spinning

This mind-boggling optical illusion may baffle you, even after you learn that you didn’t see what you thought you did. Experimental psychologist Akiyoshi Kitaoka often amuses her Twitter followers by sharing images that can make you question your own sanity. One mystifying illusion shows two rotating rings made up of six ovals. One is all black, while the other alternates between black and white against a gray background. Kitaoka, who teaches at the Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan, tweeted, “The right ring appears to rotate faster than the left one, though the velocity is the same.” Even after being told that both rings are spinning at the same speed, it’s hard to believe that’s the case. [firefly_poll] Essentially, the flashing ovals on the right ring trick your mind into thinking they’re spinning faster than those on the left. “To crack the code, viewers can cover the left ring with their hand to see the right ring slow down,” the New York Post explained. The rotating pattern Kitaoka shared uses the “phi phenomena, an illusion of movement that occurs when stationary objects are placed side by side and illuminated in rapid succession,” according to the Post. “This phenomenon is commonly seen in flip books to make characters move across the page or added to make marquee lights appear to be flashing.” Optical illusions spotlight how our eyes and brains work together to interpret what we see. “You live in a three-dimensional world, so your brain gets clues about depth, shading, lighting, and position to help you interpret what you see,” according to the National Eye Institute. “But when you look at a two-dimensional image, your brain can be fooled because it doesn’t get the same clues.” Here are some other illusions that may confound you: While optical illusions are tricks our brains play on us, the past few years have underscored how easily the public can be fooled by insidious propaganda — and even blatant lies — rabidly pushed by politicians and their media allies. As we embark on a new year, let us remember that things aren’t always what they seem and that sometimes, it is not only right to question outlandish narratives, but it is our moral and civic duty to do so. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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