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Optical Illusions

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The images below - while limited to the visual modality - illustrate that perception is an active construction of the mind rather than a valid representation of objective reality.

Escher "figure-ground" illusion

Escher Figure image

Celestial Bodies

Art by: Octavio Ocampo

art illusions

Can you find nine figures embedded in the image?

9 figures

Embedded Dali


There seems to be a white triangle in the center.

white triangle

Absents of the Mermaid

Art by: Octavio Ocampo absents of mermaid

Our Bread

Art by: Octavio Ocampo
our bread

art illusion

Impossible perspectives


perspective 2

Young girl ⁄ Old woman Illusion

young girl old woman

Eye Examination chart

eye chart

shades of gray

Phantom Dots Illusion

phantom dots illusion

Identical Table Tops

table tops

Chalk Drawing

chalk drawing

Phantom Expansion

expansion image

Impossible Figures

image of blocks
picture of nut



tri two

Necker cubes

two cubes

Eye Examination chart

whichway blocks

M. C. Escher: Day and Night

escher image

The red boxes are identical

shades of red

Man or woman

pipe image

Face or Vase

vase or face

Phantom Movement

phantom movement

The diagonal lines are straight


Figures & Backgrounds



The figures are identical


Stare at the image for 30 seconds then look at ground.

image of Jesus

M. C. Escher: Waterfall

waterfall image

Nature never deceives us; it is always we who deceive ourselves.
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau,

The organizational mechanisms of vision are best demonstrated by illusions. Illusions illustrate that perception is a creative construction that the brain makes in interpreting visual data ....Learning does not prevent us from being taken in by these illusions. -Eric Kandel

We do not see the world as it really is; perception is always biased by the perceiver's motivational state. Individuals with Mood Disorders and Addictive Disorders are continually taken in by this Soul Illusion and so continue to act counter to their interests.

Nature never deceives us; it is always we who deceive ourselves.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau