This optical illusion is freaking people the f*ck out

This optical illusion is freaking people the f*ck out
Source: Shutterstock
Source: Shutterstock

Join us, won't you, in having your mind fucked. 

An optical illusion is going viral, likely because it reveals our brains' shortcomings. The image is a gray grid with 12 black dots at the intersections — but you'd be hard-pressed to view all of the dots at once.

See for yourself:

Game developer Will Kerslake shared the optical illusion on Twitter on Sunday, and at time of writing it had over 18,000 retweets. The illusion was sourced from a Facebook post, according to Kerslake. The illusion is discussed in a study on perception. 

Here is how the researchers describe why you can't look at all of the dots at one time, and why they appear to be bouncing around the grid:

"When the white disks in a scintillating grid are reduced in size, and outlined in black, they tend to disappear," the study noted. "One sees only a few of them at a time, in clusters which move erratically on the page. Where they are not seen, the grey alleys seem to be continuous, generating grey crossings that are not actually present. Some black sparkling can be seen at those crossings where no disk is seen. The illusion also works in reverse contrast."

Jacques Ninio, an author of the study, said in an email that looking at the illusion "requires sharp vision." Ninio added, "Often, when I project this stimulus, a number of people do not see this effect — they see all the disks simultaneously. Invariably, they are people who normally use spectacles, but did not wear them. Once they put the spectacles on their nose, the disks vanish!"

Ninio said that the illusion of the dots moving is just a "reflection of the movements of the eyes."

Some people claim to be able to see all of the dots at once. Sorcery.

Others tried and failed. Their brains melted. 

Sept. 12, 2016, 1:21 p.m.: This story has been updated. 

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Melanie Ehrenkranz

Melanie is a writer covering technology and the future. She can be reached at melanie@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Anthony Scaramucci acknowledges “colorful language” after ‘New Yorker’ published his wild rant

Scaramucci's "colorful language" revealed the high-stakes tension going on at the White House.

Lindsey Graham says he is creating legislation to block Trump from firing Mueller

Graham said earlier that ousting Mueller would mark the "beginning of the end of the Trump presidency."

Despite Trump, military leaders say there will be no changes to transgender policy for now

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect."

Trump will visit Long Island to discuss gang violence — but some fear he could make the issue worse

Trump has celebrated mass deportations as fighting gang violence — but are his words helping or hurting?

Like his boss, Anthony Scaramucci seems to be a fan of disgraced football coach Joe Paterno

President Donald Trump also gave a shout-out to the late Penn State coach during the 2016 campaign.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Transgender ban, GOP healthcare struggling, video games relieve work stress

What you need to know for Thursday, July 27.

Anthony Scaramucci acknowledges “colorful language” after ‘New Yorker’ published his wild rant

Scaramucci's "colorful language" revealed the high-stakes tension going on at the White House.

Lindsey Graham says he is creating legislation to block Trump from firing Mueller

Graham said earlier that ousting Mueller would mark the "beginning of the end of the Trump presidency."

Despite Trump, military leaders say there will be no changes to transgender policy for now

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect."

Trump will visit Long Island to discuss gang violence — but some fear he could make the issue worse

Trump has celebrated mass deportations as fighting gang violence — but are his words helping or hurting?

Like his boss, Anthony Scaramucci seems to be a fan of disgraced football coach Joe Paterno

President Donald Trump also gave a shout-out to the late Penn State coach during the 2016 campaign.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Transgender ban, GOP healthcare struggling, video games relieve work stress

What you need to know for Thursday, July 27.