These amazing optical illusions reveal ‘hidden brain activity’, says boffins

The VISUAL illusion shows us that we have no direct access to reality.

They can also provide the mental processing that gives our experience of the viewable world the viewable world.

Visual illusions like these can tell us a lot about how our brains interpret the world.


Visual illusions like these can tell us a lot about how our brains interpret the world.

Indeed, it is the processing that happens inside our brains that is the basis for many illusions.

Instead of providing information from our eyes in an almost raw form like a camera, the brain tries to determine what’s really out there.

It asks: what are the shapes and objects in the scene?

When the information entering the eye is vague, the brain has to make educated guesses.

The three screens below demonstrate this in quite interesting ways.

Sexual fantasies

This illusion works by tricking the brain's perception of contrast


This illusion works by tricking the brain’s perception of contrast

In this illusion by Richard Russell, the same face appears to be female when skin tones are lightened (left image) and male when skin tones are made darker (right image).

The illusion works because changing skin tone affects the contrast of the face – the difference between the darkest part of the face (lips and eyes) and the lightest part (skin).

Few consider facial contrast to be a defining feature of either sex, but in reality, contrast higher than average in women than in men.

Even without consciously knowing it, our brains are attuned to the difference in contrast between the sexes and so contrast is a signal the brain uses to determine sex. .

When other markers are omitted, contrast can be the deciding factor.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the illusion is that the contrast not only helps us determine the gender of the face – it gives the experience of “seeing” a face as male or female. The use of contrast signals is done by unconscious processes.

The image in our eyes combines the information we already hold and uses this information to resolve the ambiguity in the image.


Coffer’s Illusion

Can you see the circles inside this optical illusion?


Can you see the circles inside this optical illusion?

The Coffer Illusion may initially appear as a series of sunken rectangular doorways, but after a few seconds, your brain’s representation of the image may “flip” to let you experience the 16 circles.

People have been fascinated by such ambiguous numbers ever since the time of the ancient Romans.

The Coffer Illusion is based on the fact that the visual brain is more oriented towards identify object. “Pixel” grouped together to form edges and contours, shapes and finally objects.

Sometimes, as in Coffer Illusion, there is no “right” group because the image is inherently ambiguous. The two groups are significantly different – a set of horizontal lines that can form a circle or be the intersection of two rectangles.

For most people, grouping into the initial rectangle dominates. This may be because rectangles (including those we see in doorways) are more common than circles in our everyday environment, and so the brain favors clustering. out rectangular shapes.

Love Mask

Do you see a man inside the mask - or two faces kissing?


Do you see a man inside the mask – or two faces kissing?

In Gianni Sarcone’s Mask of Love, a Venetian mask can contain a single face or the faces of two people kissing.

The illusion works in a similar way to the Coffer illusion – the contours in the image can be grouped in two different ways, leaving the brain uncertain which one to choose.

The difference with this illusion is that, at least for some people, neither of them tend to dominate. The image seems to flip reasonably freely between two sensible alternatives.

Flipping is a fun way for the brain to deal with ambiguity. Other parts of the brain there is a mechanism that average vague information or just choose the most likely presentation and ignore all alternatives.

Flipping has the advantage of providing coherent information about what an image might be, which can be helpful in knowing how to interact with the world.

Together, these three illusions demonstrate that image processing is geared toward determining what an object is.

Our mind’s eye representation is designed to work, so instead of delivering a jumbled pile of pixels, we have complex visual experiences of circles, rectangles, faces, and shapes. even the gender of the face.

Kim, Alex and several other scientists will show illusions at A Night of Illusion on 18-19 August at 107 projects, Redfern, Sydney.

This article was originally published on Conversation. Read original article.

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Fry Electronics Team

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