Disappearing Dots Illusion Is Making The Internet Question Its Sanity


There is something weirdly comforting about optical illusions, at least to me. The fact that you can look at something that causes your mind to short-circuit and essentially lie to you, destabilizes the trust we have in our own perception, thinking, point of view, etc.

Personally, I like that. It's probably why we all like getting drunk on the weekends. “LET ME DRINK THIS EXPENSIVE LIQUID THAT WILL POISON MY BLOOD AND MAKE ME BAD AT CHOICES AND/OR WALKING.”

Illusions show us, in clear detail, how flawed and easily tricked our minds can be, which, at least for me, takes a bit of the pressure off being certain about things.

Anyway, now that I've gone ahead and pontificated about my philosophy regarding perception and, uh, trusting the mind and, um, getting drunk as a form of spiritual liberation through cerebral poisoning, let's move on to you guys staring at a graphic that will just make you feel pleasantly weird.

Look at this image:

What in the name of Jesus' shit is going on with these dots right now? (Don't worry, it's not offensive, I dated a Son of God in high school.) They seem to move, to disappear and reappear in the corner of your eye.

Well, that's just because your brain sucks at looking at stuff. It interprets what it sees, it simplifies and balances. It makes mistakes.

The image above actually has 12 dots, even though I can barely see more than two at once.

So how is this happening? Honestly, I don't really care, seeing as the whole purpose of an optical illusion is to trick and boggle the mind.

But, if you'd like to know, you can read this long and very boring paper about how the mind has a hard time recognizing “objects in a clutter” and the “crowding” phenomenon and how “people do not combine information from multiple fixations in a fully integrated and detailed representation.”

Mashable, who found that paper, which might or might not explain the illusion here, quoted all the of above, because, like me, they thought it was too boring and unfun to try to explain themselves.

Citations: Sage Pub