A BRAIN-BOGGING optical illusion makes a static image of a black hole appear as if it’s swallowing you whole, research has shown.
Nine out of 10 people who see the misleading image report the hole expanding as if you are walking down a dark tunnel.
The illusion, which is new to science, was invented by Professor Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a psychologist at Japan’s Ritsumeikan University.
Researchers wrote in a newspaper this week that it gives viewers “a growing sense of darkness, as if entering a lightless room.”
They added that it’s probably the result of our minds being fooled into thinking we’re moving into a dark realm.
When our brain experiences the resulting vision loss, our pupils dilate, creating the sensation that we’re moving forward or falling.
The illusion occurs regardless of the size of the image and even if it’s a different color, the researchers said.
“The ‘expanding hole’ is a highly dynamic illusion,” said Professor Bruno Laeng, who led the experiments at the University of Oslo.
“The central black hole’s circular spot, or shadow gradient, gives a distinct impression of optical flow, as if the viewer were entering a hole or tunnel.”
Professor Kitaoka is an expert in visual psychology and a well-known creator of optical illusions.
To test their latest concoction, the researchers showed it to 50 people with healthy vision, between the ages of 18 and 41.
They were shown images of different colors on a screen, in which the hole was expanding, alongside scrambled versions with no discernible pattern.
The illusion of forward motion was strongest when the pattern was black, only 86 percent of participants could perceive it.
In the case of colored expansion holes, this proportion dropped to 80 percent.
The more participants rated their perception of the illusion, the more their pupils dilated during the task.
This indicates a clear connection between the illusion and dilation of the pupils.
Optical illusions are often just a bit of fun, but they also have real value for scientists.
The brain puzzles help researchers shed light on the inner workings of the mind and how it reacts to its environment.
The black hole illusion, for example, suggests that the pupil can sometimes respond to the expectation of light, as opposed to light hitting the eye.
“Here, using the new ‘expanding hole’ illusion, we show that the pupil responds to how we perceive light – even if that ‘light’ is imaginary as in the illusion – and not just to the amount of light energy actually entering the eye enters,” said Laeng.
“The illusion of the expanding hole results in a corresponding dilation of the pupil, as would happen if darkness really increased.”
The study was published on May 30 in Frontiers in human neuroscience.
- Get the latest science news
- Stay up to date with the top stories about space and astronomy
- All archeology news from dinosaurs to ancient artifacts
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science Team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8884650/optical-illusion-black-hole-swallow-you/ The creepy optical illusion makes it look like a “black hole” is SWALLOWING you