1. What shapes are these tables?
Obviously the green one is a rectangle and the red one is a square. Wrong! They are the exact same width and length. One has just been rotated 90 degrees. Our brain leads us to believe that they are not the same because various parts of the brain responsible for different aspects of processing visual information (e.g. shape, depth, colour) are disagreeing about what they see – is it a fat square table or a thin long one? This disagreement makes it difficult for you to make up your mind about what it really is.
2. Are these lines straight or curved?
Believe it or not – these two red lines are dead straight and parallel. So how does your brain trick you into thinking the lines are curved? The blue lines makes our brain think that we’re moving toward the image and so the brain predicts what the red lines will look like in the future – making the red lines bulge out. So weird!
3. This is just a photo of President Obama upside down.
What’s so strange about this you might ask? Well the truth might surprise you. Have a look at the image the right way up.
Woah! How does that work? We don’t think anything is strange in Obama’s upside down picture because his eyes and mouth are the right way up. Our brain processes visual information in parts before making a whole image – so it processes parts of our face (eyes, lips etc.) before processing the whole face and in turn tricks us!
4. Clearly Square A is Grey and Square B is White.
Apparently not – instead they are the exact same shade of grey. Here’s the explanation – we know that the checkerboard pattern has dark and light squares. Our brain sees that there is a shadow cast on the board and knows that square B is one of the light squares, even though it’s the exact same colour as the dark squares without a shadow on it. So to avoid confusion, the brain changes the lightness of Square B automatically for us. Uncool!
5. What do you see?
Some may see a young woman and others an old woman. Here’s the strange thing – we can’t see both at the same time. This is because seeing something and recognising it are two different things. What happens is that we don’t stop seeing the old woman, but we stop recognising her after focusing on the younger woman.
6. Which yellow line is longer?
It’s the line at the top. Wrong! They are both the same size. This is a case of our brains making us think that one is further away because of the black ‘tracks’.