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In this there is no "Drawn" White Triangle. Click caption for an explanation.
Kanizsa triangle
The Yellow lines are the same length. Click on the name at bottom of pictue for an explanation.
Simultaneous Contrast Illusion. The background is a colour gradient and progresses from dark grey to light grey. The horizontal bar appears to progress from light grey to dark grey, but is in fact just one colour.
An optical illusion. The two circles seem to move when the viewer's head is moving forwards and backwards while looking at the black dot.
Floor tiles at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. The pattern creates an illusion of three-dimensional boxes.

An optical illusion (also called a visual illusion) is one which shows images that differ from normal reality.

The information gathered by the eye is processed in the brain to give a perception. That is normal, but in these cases the appearance does not tally with a physical measurement of the stimulus source.

There are three main types of visual illusion:

  1. literal optical illusions that create images which are different from the objects that make them
  2. physiological illusions: they are the effects on the eyes and brain of over-stimulation of brightness, colour, size, position, tilt, movement
  3. cognitive illusions, the result of unconscious inferences (brain makes the wrong decision).

The general explanation for most illusions is the way the brain works on sense data to produce a meaningful perception. A great 19th century psychologist Hermann von Helmholtz described perception as "unconscious inferences from sensory data and past experience". Richard Gregory discussed how the brain makes an hypothesis about what's out there, and sometimes the hypothesis does not quite work out. His model of perception is an interaction between data from sense organs and previous knowledge and experience. view more...

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