Optical Illusions and Visual Tricks


Optical illusions are an amazing example of how the mind and the eyes can play tricks on each other. The images in an optical illusion appear to be different than what they really are, thus causing the brain to imagine or perceive something, when in reality the image is actually something completely different. These illusions can be a lot of fun to look at and to show your friends, and they are a terrific case study in how the mind and the eyes can sometimes see things in different ways. There are three main types of optical illusions. The first is a type that creates an image different from what the image actually is, and these are called literal optical illusions. The second type is a physiological optical illusion. This type of illusion affects the eyes and the brain as a result an actual stimulus in the image such as color, size, or movement. The third type of optical illusion is a cognitive illusion, which means it appears different because of unconscious concepts such as distortion of the image or a human perception. All optical illusions are made to trick you, and to make you think you’re looking at something you are actually not really seeing. One great example and one of the most popular illusions is the vase with two faces: first you see a cut out image of a vase, and then upon closer examination, the silhouette of two faces looking at each other appears! There are many other interesting and unique optical illusions. See if you can identify which type they are.

  • See All You can See – This page has a lot of great optical illusions and explains how they work.
  • Optical Illusions and Visual Phenomena - Here are ninety four amazing optical illusions and unusual images for the eyes to enjoy.
  • Optical Illusions and Pictures – There are plenty of interesting photos and optical illusions on this page, as well as some explanations about how they work.
  • Kids’ Optical Illusions – This website has a great deal of fun optical illusions for kids and adults alike.
  • Colour Perception – This exercise allows you to learn about and understand the concept of color perception illusions.
  • Gallery of Visual Illusions – Here is a gallery of some classic optical illusions.
  • The Secret Life of the Brain – Check out how the brain understands and responds to different visual illusions.
  • Illusion Tour – Discover some cool and interesting optical illusions by taking the illusion tour.
  • Mighty Optical Illusions – Check out this gallery of some amazing illusions including real objects and photos.
  • Color Cube – Here, you will find a great array of colorful, interesting optical illusions.
  • Causes, Characteristics, and Applications – Learn all about how visual illusions work, their characteristics, and how they can be applied.
  • Einstein/Monroe Illusion – Take a look at this wild optical illusion and see Albert Einstein change into Marilyn Monroe!
  • Exploratorium – Enjoy the magnificent Exploratorium, where you’ll find some awesome optical illusions.
  • Optical Illusions!! – This page has another excellent gallery chock full of cool optical illusions.
  • Eye Site – Here are even more interesting visual illusions for you to enjoy and learn about.
  • Visual Illusions Gallery – The University of Massachusetts in Lowell offers a large visual illusions gallery.
  • The Checkershadow Illusion – Can you tell if the two squares are the same shade of gray? Find out how this illusion works here.
  • Blind Spots and the “Filling In” Phenomena – Learn about how the eyes can often make up for space by “filling in” areas that they do not literally see by trying out some of these cool optical illusions.
  • Introduction to Optical Illusions – This website has a good basic overview of optical illusions, what they are, how they work, and where to find some online.
  • The Principles of Artistic Illusions – This in-depth page has great background information as well as how and why certain images are used to demonstrate artistic illusion.
  • Color Wheels – These color wheels have different color and shape patterns to illustrate optical illusions.
  • Lesson Plan – This lesson plan illustrates how to create and see optical illusions using various materials.
  • The How and Why of Optical Illusions – This very in-depth page explores and explains how optical illusions work, and why our brains tend to believe we are seeing something we are not.
  • Tricks of the Eye, Wisdom of the Brain – This article explains how the eyes can sometimes play tricks on us, but the brain can often know what to decipher.