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Take Two Minutes to See Four of the Most Mind-Bending Optical Illusions of the Year


"Do not match the physical reality."

(Source: YouTube)

Each year, the visual research community gets together to celebrate illusions, or "those perceptual experiences that do not match the physical reality."

The Neural Correlate Society recently released the top 10 best optical illusions created this year, and they're a treat.

"Our perception of the outside world is generated indirectly by brain mechanisms, and so all visual perception is illusory to some extent. The study of visual illusions is therefore of critical importance to the understanding of the basic mechanisms of sensory perception, as well as to cure many diseases of the visual system," the contest website stated.

Here's a look at a few of the finalists.

The Dynamic Ebbinghaus by researchers from the University of Nevada-Reno.

What you see happen here is the central circle actually stays the same size, but the surrounding circles that get bigger and smaller appear to make the center circle change in size as well. This trick works best when you don't focus on the center circle.

A Turn in the Road by researchers at Rice University in Texas.

This illusion uses "metamers," two identical images that look different, and "anti-metamers," two images that are different but look the same. The researchers created what they call a "false pop out" when presented with three images, one different two the same, for this illusion.

Infinite Maze by researchers at Aix-Marseille Universite in France.

This illusion takes a Pac-Man-inspired game that plays upon the psychological phenomenon known as change blindness, which makes the maze infinite. Watch how it works:

The Disappearing Faces Illusion by Stuart Anstis from the University of California-San Diego.

When you keep your eye on the dot in the center of this video a picture of contrasting versions of Albert Einstein and Marilyn Monroe flash. While you see Marilyn on the right for most of the video and Einstein on the left, the two are flipped at the end.

Check out all the finalists on the contest website.

(H/T: io9)


This story has been updated for clarity.

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