Optical illusions have been around for centuries, with some of the earliest designs spanning back to the fifth century BC. Since they first appeared, they have gained significant popularity, and now we see new mind-bogglers taking over the internet nearly every week.
If you love having your brain fried by incredible illusions, then you’ve come to the right place, as we have rounded up a collection of the best optical illusions out there. We’ve got a range of designs, new and old, for you to enjoy.
1. Rotating Discs
This is an illusion, featured in Clive Gifford’s book Eye Benders, and inspired by experimental psychologist Akiyoshi Kitaoka. No, it’s not a GIF but a still image – though the wheels appear to turn in front of your eyes. It happens because of how your eyes process an image, scanning it repeatedly while auto focusing and adjusting. If it feels too much, try concentrating on a single wheel to make it all stop.
2. What are the numbers?
This number-themed illusion had the internet utterly stumped as it asked the question, how many numbers for you see? At first glance, it looks as though there are only three numbers, but the closer and harder you stare, the more numbers start to appear. There are seven numbers in total, but what numbers are they exactly?
3. Spinning Boxes
These boxes are clearly spinning on the spot, right? Nope! They are, in fact, totally still, with the illusion caused by the flashing background. Focusing on one of the cube’s corners stops the spin so you can prove to yourself what is actually happening.
4. Watch them vanish!
This hypnotic optical illusion actually has two mind-bogglers amongst it depending on where you look. Depending on where you look at the design, the dots will either all change colour or completely vanish. Simply follow the light grey spot around or stare at the cross in the centre for 30 seconds to experience the design’s multiple illusions.
5. All ships float
Most optical illusions seem to be handmade or digital creations, but every now and again an example appears out in the wild – and these incredible ‘floating’ ships might just be the most mind-boggling phenomenon we’ve seen. A walker was stunned to see a boat hovering above the water in Cornwall, and a photo of his discovery quickly went viral.
6. Count the black dots
In fact don’t count the dots, your head will implode. It’s an oldie but goldie, you may have seen the scintillating grid illusion before! Your brain thinks there’s a black dot inside each white circle—until you focus on each individual white circle. Then you realize it was never there at all.
7. Try not to be sick
It looks like the background underneath the sphere is moving downward, like a conveyor belt or a slow treadmill. But we promise this is a completely still image! It’s absolutely sickening!
8. Which is bigger?
Can you figure out which of these windows is bigger? Not only are they the exact same size, but their tops and bottoms are also directly in line with each other. It’s all about perspective!
9. Twitter responsive embed
Under the post, are the lines of this archway meeting in the middle? They sure are! The post makes the lines look mismatched, but sure enough, they connect!
10. How many different colours?
Can you figure out how many colors are in this image in total? Did you guess four? Turns out it’s only three! The square in the upper right of this image looks like it contains blue and pink stripes; the one in the lower left seems to have green and orange ones. But, believe it or not, the “blue” and “green” are actually the exact same color!