What is an Optical Illusion?

We see an optical illusion when the signals sent by our eyes to our brain are misinterpreted. Our eyes only send data, bits of electrical energy. The brain uses our past experiences to understand and recognize the data as an image. Sometimes certain images trick our brain into seeing something that is not quite there. We hope you enjoy fooling your brain with these optical illusions!

Is this an old woman or a young woman? Or is it both!

Even when your brain is sent this “spotty” information, it can usually interpret it.

What is this a picture of?

Impossible directions
Our brain sees what it thinks is an everyday
object, but something is wrong!

Stare at this image for a minute
then look at a blank white surface.

As our eyes perceive the light in an image, chemicals in our eyes are used up momentarily. This results in a negative after-image.

How is the waterfall flowing?

The artist, M.C. Escher, was fascinated by optical illusions. The waterfall is one example.

Mind Boggling!

The parts of the triangle puzzle have been moved around, but they are exactly the same size and shape in each puzzle. Print out the puzzle and cut out either puzzle. Try moving the pieces around yourself. It’s mind boggling! It’s an illusion. Study it carefully. (It took us a long time to figure it out, let us know if you want the solution.)

Say the COLOR of each word below out loud. It’s hard isn’t it!

The right side of your brain is trying to say the color while the left side is trying to read the word.