16 Optical Illusions Even Freakier Than That Damn Dress


1. Rubik’s illusion

Beau Lotto / LottoLabs / Via lottolab.org

The “blue” tiles on the left and the “yellow” ones on the right are the same colour.

2. The checker shadow illusion

Wikipedia / Via en.wikipedia.org

Squares A and B are the same brightness.

3. Cube illusion

Beau Lotto / LottoLabs / Via lottolab.org

The upper grey cube and the lower grey cube are the same colour.

4. Crossed wires

Beau Lotto / LottoLab / Via lottolab.org

The two crosspieces are the same colour. Also, the four angles are perfect right-angles on both images.

5. Brown noise

Beau Lotto / LottoLabs / Via lottolab.org

The “brown” square in the centre of the top side of the cube and the “orange” square in the centre of the shaded side are the same colour.

6. Orange is the new green

Beau Lotto / Via lottolab.org

The “green” square in the middle on the left (marked with a black spot) is the same colour as the “orange” square on the right.

7. Rotating snakes

Rotating Snakes peripheral drift illusion, based on design by Kitaoka Akiyoshi. Cmglee / Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

Oh god make it stop moving why is it moving?

8. Anomalous motion illusion

A peripheral drift illusion by Paul Nasca. Paul Nasca / Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

Please, I feel seasick.

9. Lilac chaser

Jeremy Hinton / TotoBaggins at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (gnu.org) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (creativecommons.org)], from Wikimedia Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

Stare at the center cross for 30 seconds to experience the illusion. You’ll see a green spot running around the circle, and the pink spots will fade.

10. Magic eye

Nevit Dilmen / Wikimedia Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

Scroll the page up and down and the circle will leap out from the background.

11. Bright blue?

Beau Lotto / LottoLab / Via lottolab.org

You’ll have got the hang of this by now, but the blue circles are all the same shade.

12. Dress (simplified)

Prof Andrew Stockman

Prof Andrew Stockman of UCL sent us this one. If you concentrate on the dark brown strips towards the bottom of the image, your brain will fill in the rest of them the same way, even though the higher ones are light: The reverse happens if you stare at the lighter orange ones at the top. (Confession: Only one of us can see this illusion.)

13. Crazy chessboard

AnonMoos / Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

All the lines in this image are either perfectly horizontal or perfectly vertical.

14. “Stare at the red dot for ten seconds”

Saurav Acharya / Via varuas.deviantart.com

Why do you see that negative afterimage? We tried to explain in this post (it’s to do with the photoreceptors in your eye getting fatigued).

15. The Colour Wagon Wheel

Colour can also affect motion-based optical illusions – watch this video to see how altering colours changes how you percieve the direction the circles are rotating.

16. Even xkcd is weighing in…

Randall Munroe / xkcd / Via xkcd.com