This Optical Illusion Will 'Break' Your Brain - But For 15 Milliseconds Only

"When we see something, our brain tries to quickly guess what it is... Here, your brain is using a shortcut, substituting apparent motion for actual motion."

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This Optical Illusion Will 'Break' Your Brain - But For 15 Milliseconds Only

The Pinna-Brelstaff illusion features a dot in the middle, with circles surrounding it.


This optical illusion has been around for years, but scientists have only just understood how it works. The Pinna-Brelstaff illusion features a dot in the middle with circles made of diamond-shaped dashes surrounding it. When you stare at the dot and move your head closer, the circles will appear to move clockwise. Now, if you move your head back, slowly, the circles will appear to change direction to move anti-clockwise.

See for yourself:

In a study conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, scientists proved that the brain experiences a delay when viewing some optical illusions, like the Pinna-Brelstaff illusion.

The team found a 15-millisecond delay between the activity of neurons that perceive global motion - in this case the illusion that the entire set of lines is moving - and those that perceive local motion, in this case that there is actually no movement, explains New Scientist.

"Our brains probably have the same delay, which may seem like a flaw," explained Ian Max Andolina of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to New Scientist. "But they are just being efficient. When we see something, our brain tries to quickly guess what it is. Normally, that guess is pretty accurate because the physical rules of our environment are usually consistent. Here, your brain is using a shortcut, substituting apparent motion for actual motion."

So essentially, this optical illusion will 'break' your brain for a few milliseconds, and it's now going viral on the Internet.

Love reading about the science behind optical illusions? Read about the Rabbit Illusion, created by researchers at Caltech, USA.

 

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