There is no doubt that our mind constantly helps us adjust to the changing world around us. There is a lot that is going on and sometimes it can get difficult to get the hang of everything around us. Especially if you see these optical illusions, they are funny, quirky and can mess with your head.

These not only affect your eyes but also your mind at the same time. Although there is no magic involved, science is funny enough to sweep you off. So, sit back and enjoy the fantastic creation of Optical Illusions and get ready for some mind-boggling pictures

The Assimilation Effect

This is called the Bezold Effect or assimilation effect. It is named after a German professor of meteorology, Wilhelm von Bezold. It refers to a scenario where the value of a color is affected by the other colors that surround it.

To explain this, let’s take the above situation. The same colored red line is spread across both white and black surfaces. However, one look at it suggests that red color on the side of the white shade is brighter than the one of the black side. On the black side, the red appears to be in a darker shade. This difference may appear with other colors too and it makes to be a popular optic illusion.

The Disorientating Impossible Trident

This illusion is created by D.H. Schuster, an American psychologist. Its idea was based out on ads that Schuster saw in an aviation journal. The Impossible Trident represents an object that does not exist.

When you look at the trident from one end, it looks like it has three prongs and from the other end, it looks like it has only two. This looks very disoriented and can be very disturbing for one to watch, and that is what makes it a popular illusion. The Impossible Trident appeared for the first time in The American Journal of Psychology in 1964.

The Kindergarten Illusion

This is an interesting illusion and was discovered at the by the end of the 19th century. However, it was re-discovered by Richard Gregory, a famous British psychologist. It was then that he named the illusion The Caf√ Wall illusion. This was because, when Gregory was in a cafe once on St. Michael’s Hill in Bristol he noticed an unusual pattern on its wall.

The pattern had straight parallel lines that divided the space. Between each set of parallel lines were white and black boxes. Each of these rows had white and black bricks that were placed a little distantly from the first row.

The Chubb Illusion

The Chubb Illusion was observed by American scientist Charles Chubb and his colleagues. They conducted a little experiment, and used different combinations of foreground and background fields and asked human test subjects to rate the sharpness of the objects. The results of this experiment were published in 1989.

The Chubb Illusion is called an error in visual perception. This means that the apparent contrast of an object varies substantially depends on the contrast of the field on which it is displayed. It means that the object has a higher contrast when paired with a uniform background than it has when surrounded by a high-contrast texture


This kind of illusions are called stereograms. Stereograms hold a hidden image within and their most common name is the magic eye illusions. The thing about these is that it takes a bit more effort from your eyes to see the image and if you tend to miss a single step, you won’t be able to watch the entire thing.

If you want to view the image clearly then you need to get face close to the image, and un-focus and the focus again. This has to happen soon or you will miss the image. It takes more effort to form your mind than your eyes. For, if you miss a single step, you won’t be able to watch the whole thing.

The Ebbinghaus Illusion

The Ebbinghaus Illusion was popularly discovered by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus. If you take a closer look at the orange circles in the middle, you’ll see that they are both of the same sizes. However, if you see them separately, the orange circle with the bigger blue dots seems to be smaller than the one with the smaller blue dots.

Even though, both the orange circles are of the same size, to us it seems like one is bigger than the other. This illusion is tied to space and surrounding objects, it deceives our eyes and makes us think that it is of different sizes.

The Fraser Spiral Illusion

The Fraser Space Illusion was discovered by psychologist Sir James Fraser and even named after him. If you carefully look at the illusion, you will notice that all the circles shown in the picture are in fact individual circles and it just appears as though they are spiraling up when in fact they are not.

It is just the placement of each circle and the monochrome combination that makes it look like an illusion. Our brain is tricked into thinking that it is an endless spiral.

The Hermann-Grid Illusion

The Gray squares are known as Hermann-Grid Illusion. It is an optical illusion that involves black squares and white lines and tricks our brain into thinking that there are grey dots in the middle of the intersections. When in reality, the intersections are just white and we can see that when we stare directly at the white dots.

If we move our eyes across the squares it appears as though the image is also moving while in reality, it is actually static. The trick of this illusion derives from the big contrast between black squares and white lines.

The Illogical Cube

Illogical Cube is also known as the Impossible Cube. Its creator, Maurits Cornelis Escher also created several such artworks that contain impossible figures. He is a Dutch artist and printmaker and another of his famous creations is the ‘infinitely ascending stairs’.

When one looks at the impossible cube, it looks like a 3D object when in fact it is a 2D object. A few sections of the cube are represented as being the front and the back of the cube. It plays tricks on the eyes and brain of the viewers.

The Illusory Contours

This illusion was created by Italian psychologist Gaetano Kanizsa. The point of it is to make us believe that we as viewers see a white triangle, when in fact there is none. The white triangle, however, is developed because of the missing shapes and objects in its surroundings.

Due to the regular conditioning of our brain, our mind begins to get curious when we see a certain gap and so we figure out how that can be filled. As a result, it starts giving us suggestions and ideas to fill the missing gap.

The Lilac Chaser Illusion

This illusion consists of a gray background with 12 pink dots that are placed on clock numbers. There is also a black cross in the middle of these dots that are blotted out briefly, for 0.1 seconds in a clockwise rotation. Now, the illusion works in several ways.

If we look directly at the cross in the middle, then we will notice the green dot that will go over every single pink dot. And say, we choose to follow the green dot, to see what happens with it, it circles around. And what we are left with are disappearing pink dots for a brief second.

The Muller-Lyer Illusion

The Muller-Lyer Illusion is an interesting one. It is named after its creator, Franz Carl Muller-Lyer, a German psychiatrist and sociologist and was first published in 1889. The thing about these three arrows is that they are all equal in length and one only feels like they are longer than one and the other is because of the shapes of the arrows.

Such illusions are called geometrical-optical illusions. Another fact about these illusions is that Europeans are more susceptible to such illusions compared to the indigenous people in Australia. This is because the Europeans are much more used to the rectilinear environments.

The Impossible Triangle

The Impossible Triangle can also be called as the Penrose Triangle. It was created by a named Swedish graphic artist Oscar Reutersvard. However, a few years later it was re-discovered by British psychiatrist Lionel Sharples Penrose and his son, mathematician Roger Penrose. Together they devised a triangle in a publication in 1958 and since then the illusion has been named after them.

If you look carefully, you will see that the bottom part of the triangle is placed in the front and back parts of the triangle. As a matter of fact, it is not a triangle at all. The different shapes that come together make it look like a triangle.

Crooked Perspective

When one takes a picture, it really matters what angle they take it from, because that can impact their entire picture. If you take a look at this picture, everything looks out of place. Apart from the car, everything else seems to be falling apart, the road seems slightly tilted and the houses seem to be falling off the face of the earth.

However, if you change your perspective and spend a little time thinking about this, you will notice that the photo has been taken from a wrong angle and the houses are in fact intact. It is just that the road is slightly steep and that is why the car is tilted.

Pinna-Brelstaff Illusion

This illusion can be modified using several other colors and shapes, however, the basic principle continues to remain the same. There is always a single black dot in the middle and the two circles that are made of a parallelogram.

There is no magic that happens when you look at the picture, but as soon as you start moving your head back and front, you will notice that the circles start moving clockwise and anti-clockwise. You can also observe a similar situation with an illusion that observes expanding and shrinking circles, which also seem like they are rotating.

The Poggendorff Illusion

This seems to be a fun illusion. On the left side you will see a black line that enters a grey background and then two lines, red and blue exit the background. Now, buy the looks of it, it seems like the blue line is the continuation of the black one, however, after checking the phenomenon correctly, you will notice that it is, in fact, the red one that extends from the black line.

This illusion was discovered in the 19th century and published by Johann Christian Poggendorff. Check the image on the right to clear your confusion.

The Impossible Elephant

Another interesting image from the list of impossibles is here, it is the time it is The Impossible Elephant. Now, if you look at the image for the first time, you may not notice any difference, but you look closely, you will see that the elephant has far too many legs. You might try and count the number of legs, starting from the top of the bottom of the picture, but you will get confused.

This happens because your eyes and brain get confused by the distortion of dimensional space.

The Shepard Tables

This one is a fairly new optical illusion and was published in 1990 by Roger Shepard, a Stanford psychologist. Now, just because it is a new illusion, that does not mean that it is not capable of disorienting the viewers, in fact, it is one of the most powerful illusions and creates length miscalculation by a margin of 20 to 25 percent.

The tables are called, “Shepard tables” and when these are presented as tabletops, they appear as 3D objects, where one table is narrow and long and the other is evenly squared. But, in reality, they are identical aside from a rotation of 90 degrees.

The Orbison Illusion

The Orbison Illusion was discovered around 1939 and by an American psychologist William Orbison. It consists of a two-dimensional figure that is usually either a circle or a square that is superimposed over a background of radial lines or concentric circles. When the viewer looks at the image, the figure appears distorted.

This happens due to the contrasting shapes and colors. In the above picture the square looks slightly bulged, the circles are elliptical and the rectangle is tilted.

The Jastrow Illusion

This illusion uses real-life objects that are curved in shape to show an optical illusion. Its discovery is attributed to Joseph Jastrow, an American psychologist of Polish descent. He discovered this in 1889 and the illusion is being studied ever since. This one is quite special since it actually occurs in ‘the real world’.

The illusion needs to curved liked objects to be placed one on top of each other, when that is done, the object on top seems to be smaller than the object below. However, when the situation is reversed, the second object that goes on top now seems smaller again. The reason for this illusion has still not being studied.

The Hanging Cube

This optical illusion is similar to the white triangle illusion. There is actually no cube, to begin with, however, the small dots are carefully laced to make the white lines inside them point in the right direction. Now, since our brain has been conditioned well, we automatically begin to fill the gaps in between.

There may not be an actual image of the cube, but we will certainly imagine that there is. The trick is simple. it requires you to align the small dots together in order to create a shape.

The Ponzo Illusion

Yet another interesting discovery in the list of illusions, and this time it is by an Italian psychologist Mario Ponzo in 1911. He argued that our human brain judges the size of an object based on its background. To prove his point, he drew two identical lines across a pair of converging lines. Now, when we directly look at the image, it appears as though the yellow line that is far away is longer than the one closer to us.

But as a matter of fact, both lines are of equal length and of the same size. Our brain tricks us and makes us interpret that the upper line as though it is farther away and thus having to be longer in order to produce retinal images of the same size.

The Viewing Distance Illusion

This illusion relies heavily on your eyesight and color contrast and works best if you look at it for the first time. When you see the picture closely you will notice that something is written in black and but the lines are blurred. If you walk a few steps away, you will see that you are able to see the first word, a few more steps away and you’ll be able to see the second word, walk a little further and then you will see the third word.

You won’t be able to see all the three words at once because our eyes and brain get adjusted to different lengths and perceive colors differently varying on the distance.

The Floating Leaves Illusion

This is a common illusion, although it is quite an interesting one. When you look at the image, it will look as though the leaves are moving. If you do this a couple of times it will make you dizzy. However, if you stop and stare at one particular place for a long time, you will notice that the image is static and does not move at all.

This illusion takes place because of the movement that comes from the heavy contrasts of colors.

Optical Illusion Discs

These Optical illusion discs were very popular illusions and were created by physicists and mathematicians such as Joseph Plateau and Simon Stampfer. This particular one below was created by Thomas McLean in 1833.

Altogether, the disc has 10 men and 10 frogs, each of them in different positions doing different actions. When the disc is still, you will notice that none of these individuals are moving, however, when it starts spinning again, it looks like the man is feeding the frogs with the red ball.

This optical illusion was helped animators develop skills necessary for animated movies in the earlier times.

The Rolling Circle

Another interesting and colorful illusion is the rolling circle. Here, there is a large black circle with eight straight lines in it. There are small balls of different colors that are placed in different positions. When the animation is played, it looks like all these balls come together to form an even bigger ball. However, in reality, they are just moving up and down in their own space from top to bottom.

The illusion is formed by creating a simple harmonic motion and good timing.

The Munker Illusion

Munker Illusion is an interesting one. It makes the viewers think that the balls in the given picture are of a different color. When the lines that go across the balls are removed, you will see that the balls are of the same color and shading.

When there are lines that go across the balls, you only notice the color of the lines and not the ball. For example, if there are green lines that pass by the ball, the ball looks green when in reality it is colorless.

The Rolling Cylinders

As with all illusions, we know that this too is a static image. Although, when we move our head from left to right we see that the cylinders are moving. However, when we focus on a particular point, they stop moving. The illusion is created by using different shapes and positions in the image. It is these shapes and the way they are placed, that give out the illusion.

Each cylinder in the picture is outlined with black and white lines, it is the shape of it and color pattern that gives us the illusion.

The Curved Bars Illusion

In this illusion, the bars appear to be curved slightly where the pass the circle in the center. However, in reality, the bars are nothing but straight parallel lines. Due to the circle in the middle, our mind perceives the ball as round, and thus the bars that go above and below the circle will appear slightly curved.

The image is amplified even more because of the black lines that come out of the center, this adds a certain depth to the picture.

The Architectural Illusions

When we see optical illusions in the real world, we find them to be even more fascinating. Sometimes designers and architects find it interesting to play tricks on people and so they design their object in such a way. This building in particular looks like it is a part of a picture from your computer that it has been edited in the computer program.

This makes people look towards the building more than once to analyse whether what they have seen is right. This building is actually an architectural illusion building in Paris.

The Red Lines

This is quite a different kind of architectural illusion. If you look at the building for the first time, you might think that someone has smeared paint all over the place,however, when you look closely you will see that they have been done so for a reason. These are not just plain red lines, but lines that form circle on the architecture of this building.

If you look from the starting of the pillar till the end of the image, you will see the circles clearly. Although, it seems like a lot of effort has gone into making this possible .

The 3D Painting

One of the most common forms of illusions is the 3D painting. It was done in Switzerland in a mall. A staff member even put a fence around that so that the people would assume that it is real. Most people would come, see the art and double check to see if what there were looking at was right.

It is funny that we do not have a picture of someone who actually fell to the ground after seeing the painting or that would have been so much fun!

The 2D Cafe

This is one of the coolest illusions ever! It is basically a 2D cafe, that is based-out in Japan. One the first look, it looks photoshopped but the whole shop was done in 2D. Starting from the entrance, walls, furniture and other small details everything looks like it is a black and white cartoon. People who come here to have coffee may get confused and tricked into the 2D illusion. It is honestly quite refreshing to see a new concept like this.

Additionally, since the opening of this cafe, it has become quite a famous one in the country.