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This Optical Illusion Has a Revelation About Your Brain and Eyes


“All the things we perceive is inconsistent with the physical reality of the world,” Dr. Purves said. “All the things we see, whether it’s line length, color, brightness, you name it.”

So, you aren’t really being tricked; as a substitute, visual illusions help reveal what our mind’s eye is as much as by showcasing mismatches between what we see and what is de facto on the market.

One hypothesis, Dr. Laeng said, is that the brain is attempting to predict and show us the longer term.

It takes time for a stimulus, like light, to succeed in our sensory organs, which must send it to the brain, which in turn must process, make sense of, and do something with that information. And by the point our brain catches up with the current, time has already moved forward, and the world has modified.

To get around this, the brain could also be consistently attempting to predict a bit bit into the longer term to be able to perceive the current.

Seeing the expanding hole illusion will not be a flaw, but a feature: It’s the results of your brain’s technique to navigate an uncertain, ever-changing world, probably built up from evolutionary history to ultimately help humanity survive. It’s adaptive to predict the longer term by, say, dilating your pupils in anticipation of going somewhere dark.

“It’s a really philosophical query,” Dr. Laeng said. “We do live in a virtual reality, however it’s a pragmatically useful virtual reality.”

So, the world you’re seeing is an illusion, but don’t be alarmed.

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