Your Eyes Meet Your Brain

By: Conner B

Have you ever stared at that triangle that looks like it’s impossible to make? Have you ever seen the small and large circles surrounding the same size of circle but that don’t look like the same size? Those are called Optical Illusions. Optical Illusions happen when your brain makes assumptions of a picture and they are really wrong. But really your brain always makes assumptions of what you see. Have you ever noticed that when you look at your friend, the first thing your brain thinks of is their face? That is an example of your brain assuming that that person is your friend because of their face. Are you ready to learn more?

What types of Optical Illusions are there?

There are many types of optical illusions. First off, Ambiguous Illusions are driven by the information that is already in our heads. Ambiguous Illusions are basicly just based off of guesses our brains make. When you look at, for example the Old Or Young illusion, your brain takes the information that is closest to the picture. Your brain could look at her clothes first and assume that she is old, or it could look at her face first and could assume that she is young. The second type of optical illusion is Distorting Illusions. Distorting Illusions make your brain confused on their size. For example, in the circle illusion, your brain assumes that the circle in the middle is either bigger or smaller that the other circle in the middle. When really, both circles in the middle are both the same size. This works (again) by you brain assuming that it’s smaller or bigger by the circles surrounding them. The third type of illusion is called Paradox Illusions. Paradox Illusions are 2D images that look 3D but can’t possibly be 3D. For example, the Impossible Triangle illusion, seems like a 3D triangle but when you look at the whole thing it seems impossible. Your brain tries to figure out the illusion but it can’t. Paradox illusions are based off of the brains assumption of that adjacent edges must join. The last illusions are Mundane Illusions. Mundane Illusions make your brain try to make a map of the image. When you look at the image to the , you first look at the big guy lifting the object but then, you look at the other object inside that object, but another guy holding it. Your brain gets confused about the location of the guys.

What Goes On In Your Brain?

When you look at an Optical Illusion, you think your brain has messed up but really, your brain didn’t completely mess up. When you're looking at an Optical Illusion, your retina (a.k.a the collector) takes information from a network of nerves. Then, the retina takes that information to your brain to display the information to you. In the network of nerves, there are memories of images. When your retina takes the images to your brain, you see an Optical Illusion. For example, when you are playing a virtual reality game (for example, on the Oculus Rift) your brain has to assume the game is real. Like I said, your brain and eyes are never wrong, they are just assuming it’s real because of the shadows, the lines, etc. You might think your brain is just messing up and malfunctioning but really, it’s doing what it’s supposed to do. Your brain is just making assumptions. Your brain (and your eyes) look at the picture and assume it’s something you have seen before. Then, your brain makes you see what you see but it doesn’t look right. When you look at the duck or bunny illusion, your brain either sees a bunny or a duck. I saw a duck first but that doesn’t matter. Like I said, when you see a bunny after a while, your brain makes another assumption. But, your brain can’t make two assumptions at the same time! That would be a delusion! We are not talking about delusions, OKAY?! Your brain has to only make one assumption to start with. Then, it can change that assumption to make you see the other picture. That, is what happens inside your brain when you see an optical illusion.




Survey Time!

Now, I made a survey on google and sent it out to everybody in 5th grade in Shoal Creek. There were thirty-three people who took my survey. In the duck or rabbit illusion, twenty-five people said duck and eight people said rabbit. So 25/33 people said duck and 8/33 people said rabbit. This depends on their experience in the world and what they see more often. As I said before, this illusion is an Ambiguous and depends on the viewer’s knowledge. On the next question, I asked what they saw (old or young) in the Old or Young? illusion. 15/33 people said they saw old and 18/33 saw young. Again, the results depend on the viewers experiences. For the last question, I had them look at the Good or Evil? illusion. 22/33 people said they saw good first and 11/33 people said they saw evil first. All of those illusions are based off of knowledge and some people had more knowledge about one thing than the others.

To Wrap It All Up…

I was wondering before I found out how illusions work, “WOAH, how does this work?”, but now I know. I know how to make an illusion and how an illusion works. In each paragraph, I explained how each illusion worked and the one with the people and the tubes, no one had explained it but I did. I am somewhat of an expert on optical illusions and it’s fun having people try them. I never knew that your brain made assumptions every time you saw something. That’s why you are reading this article right now. It’s all because of assumptions. Assumptions drive your brain all the time but I didn’t know that it does it in your sight. I now know some of how the brain works and how the eye works. It’s surprising that someone can see on thing in an optical illusion and someone sees something else. Now I somewhat regret learning some of this stuff because it takes a little of the fun out of optical illusions. I hope you liked my article and I hope you have a great time explaining all this stuff to your friends because it’s going to take a while. So start talking!






Works Cited

Ausbourne, Robert. Visible Magic: The Art of Optical Illusions. New York: Sterling, 2012. Print. Citation 5

"Can Your Eyes Beat These Optical Illusions?" YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2014. Citation 6

Carter, Rita, Susan Aldridge, Martyn Page, Steve Parker, Christopher D. Frith, Uta Frith, and Melanie B. Shulman. The Human Brain Book. London: DK Pub., 2009. Print. Citation 1

Howarth, Jan, and Patrick Greene. Unlock the Secrets of Your Mind: Mental Challenges and Visual Teasers. New York: Tangerine, 1999. Print. Citation 4

Seckel, Al. The Art of Optical Illusions. England: Carlton, 2000. Print. Citation 2

Smith, Katherine Joyce. Astounding Optical Illusions. New York: Sterling Pub., 1995. Print. Citation 3

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