20 of the best optical illusions, from the Troxler’s fading phenomenon, The Dress and Laurel v Yanny

OPTICAL illusions have been around for years, constantly driving people insane.

The development of social media has only served to fuel this and photos retweeted on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are constantly baffling viewers.

Here’s a reminder of the best optical illusions to have swept the internet.

Spot the black dots



This mind-boggling image is just one of the latest to have gone viral.

How many dots can you spot in this geometric pattern?


It’s impossible for your eyes to see all of the spots at onceCredit: Imgur / djeclipz

The clever optical illusion means that it’s impossible to see all the dots at once.

While there are in fact 12 dots, the image has puzzled millions of people – 1.9 million to be precise.

 Did you find them all?


Did you find them all?

Can you see them now?

However, this image was nothing compared to a simple dress that managed to divide the internet.

Blue and black or white and gold?

Twitter users were sent into a frenzy when a woman posted a photo of this dress online.

Friends, families and colleagues were divided into two camps, those who thought the dress was black and blue and those who saw it as white and gold.

But what colour actually is the dress?

 'The dress' was the original optical illusion to baffle the web


‘The dress’ was the original optical illusion to baffle the webCredit: YouTube

For anyone who saw the dress as blue and black, you were correct.

The reason for the controversy is down to the way people view colours.

Our perception of different colours is dependent on which shades border each other, with clashes sending unusual signals to our brain.

The floating head

This bizarre image of what appears to be a floating head baffled Reddit users.

In the photo you can see a woman with braided blonde hair and long legs drinking a cocktail, but her body has mysteriously disappeared.

 The woman's body has mysteriously disappeared


The woman’s body has mysteriously disappearedCredit: reddit

High On Tacos, a Reddit user, explained the reason for the optical illusion: “Refraction. When light leaves/enters water, it is bent, travelling in a different direction to your eye.

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“What you see from this low camera angle is what you’d see from a much steeper camera angle, if the water were not there.”

Beard or Beaker?

In August, this confusing optical illusion was another to go viral.

People just couldn’t work out what was going in the photo.

 This fuzzy image has people very confused


This fuzzy image has people very confusedCredit: Imgur

Lots of people thought the photo looked like the Sesame Street character Beaker, while others were simply completely confused.

In reality the snap was, as the caption read, a photo of a man: “looking straight up with a beard.”

Spot the squares

It’s not just dots that can be tricky to spot.

This optical illusion appears simple at first, but its hard than you might think.

 How many squares can you see in this image? The mind boggling picture is baffling the internet


How many squares can you see in this image? The mind boggling picture is baffling the internetCredit: Playbuzz

All you have to do is add up how many squares you can see, simple right?

But there are more squares than you might have though at first glance.

 The answer is... 40 squares


The answer is… 40 squaresCredit: Playbuzz

The answer is 40: 18 single squares, nine 2×2 squares, four 3×3 squares and 4×4  squares.

Beach selfie

Another hilarious optical illusion to sweep the web is this badly-timed beach selfie.

It’s hard not to spot this embarrassing wardrobe malfunction lurking in this snap.

 This is the latest illusion to baffle the web, but can you spot what's missing from this picture?


This is the latest illusion to baffle the web, but can you spot what’s missing from this picture?Credit: Imgur

Thousands of viewers were forced to do a a double take when it appeared as if the woman hat no bikini bottoms on.

In reality, the viral image actually shows the inside of the man’s arm and not a bare bum.

Spot the phone

Facebook users were driven insane by this photo of a carpet where a hidden phone is supposedly lurking.

 This carpet is hiding a confusing challenge, but can you spot the phone?


This carpet is hiding a confusing challenge, but can you spot the phone?Credit: Facebook / Jeya May Cruz

After attempting to spot the mobile for hours in the floral patterned carpet, many gave up completely.

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The image picked up over 119,000 likes within hours.

Still can’t see the camouflaged phone? It is concealed to the right of the table leg.

 When you look closely it's possible to spot the hidden phone


When you look closely it’s possible to spot the hidden phone


Mountain lake scene

This lush green mountain scene is not as it first appears.

While most people can see a lake in the middle of the shot below the mountains, what looks like water is actually a wall.

do you

What looks like a white ‘shore’ is actually the top of the concrete wall.

 This is the photo which has caused serious controversy online


This is the photo which has caused serious controversy onlineCredit: Playbuzz

The wall actually obscures most of the mountainous scene, with shrubs growing on the side.

The brain-bending photo was originally shared on Playbuzz, before going viral and baffling the rest of the internet.

Hidden iPad

Another sneaky optical illusion that was uploaded to Playbuzz, shows what appears to be a plain grey car seat.

 This image of a car seat is giving people a headache


This image of a car seat is giving people a headacheCredit: Playbuzz

However, take a closer look and you might realise that in fact there is actually an iPad resting on the seat.

 Did you spy the sneaky iPad?


Did you spy the sneaky iPad?Credit: Playbuzz

Spot the cat

This is potentially one of the hardest optical illusions yet.

Somewhere within the image, there is actually a hidden cat.

 The photo is hiding a furry feline


The photo is hiding a furry felineCredit: Twitter

At first glance, the photo looks just like any regular garden snap, but there is actually a cat hidden to the left of the green wheelie bin.

Can’t see it?

 Look inside the red circle and you might be able to spot the cat


Look inside the red circle and you might be able to spot the catCredit: Twitter

Just like all optical illusions, once you know the animal is there, it’s impossible to miss it.

This optical illusion is known as Troxler’s fading, which a Swiss doctor discovered in 1804.

If you stare at the black dot or cross, then the colours disappear after about 30 seconds.

Paul Troxler found that the brain stops paying attention to visual scenes that don’t change.

 Stare at the dot in the middle


Stare at the dot in the middle Keep looking at the black cross


Keep looking at the black cross Don't dial 999


Don’t dial 999Credit: Reddit

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It may look like this person’s house is burning down, but it’s just a reflection of a sunset.

 These soldiers look a little on the short side


These soldiers look a little on the short sideCredit: Reddit

The water in the pool makes it seem as if this group of men are around two feet tall.

 The final frontier ?


The final frontier ?Credit: Reddit

This may look like an amazing photo of Earth as captured from space, but it’s in fact the hood of a frosty car.

 Mosh on, rockers


Mosh on, rockersCredit: Reddit

A quick glance and you might think these are bunch of moshers at a rock concert.

But look closer and you’ll see it is in fact a cotton field at night with cotton-picking machinery.

 Is this bike broken?


Is this bike broken?Credit: Reddit

Water provides a lot of optical illusions, with this puddle making it seem as if the wheel is bent.

But if you look at the reflection, you’ll see its true shape – perfectly round.

 Does this ape have a phone?


Does this ape have a phone?Credit: Reddit

Some people dread a Planet of the Apes style revolt, and this primate looks like we could be one step closer to that reality.

In fact the glare from the glass makes it appear as if the beast was taking a selfie.

 I don't?


I don’t?Credit: Reddit

This couple will have an amazing photo to remember their big day by.

This bride seems to have her legs over her husband’s shoulders but it’s just his white shirt and the back of his waistcoat.

 Breathtaking scenery


Breathtaking sceneryCredit: Reddit

This tree looks as if its floating on air, with the cloud-filled sky serenely reflected in the lake below.

 Wakey wakey


Wakey wakeyCredit: Reddit

This picture-perfect scene causes people to look twice, with the translucent tent creating a bizarre effect on the view of the woods.

And as well as optical illusions, there’s now a sound illusion.

The Yanny v Laurel debate has taken the internet by storm – similar to The Dress in 2015.

People are undecided whether the four-second clip of a digital American accent is saying Laurel or Yanny.

Experts have claimed it could be down to frequencies among other factors.



Categories: Optical Illusion
Source: HIS Education

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