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By on March 11, 2012, with 27 Comments

Illusions done by Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a Japanese professor of psychology have always been worthy of our attention. So what has he been up to lately? Let’s see if his “Evening Dusk” optical illusion brings something new to the table! Below shapes and figures give an illusion where it appears that the amount of light surrounding them is different compared to their insides. But there is another serious effect happening here – one messing with our brains and sight! Take a look at this figure below, before we proceed:

When light is bright, your eye constricts!

It probably gave you an impression that it’s much brighter in it’s center, compared to white background surrounding it’s outer edges. It also makes you believe that the amount of light inside it is much greater than it actually is, thus making your eyes constrict!

Why do our eyes constrict?

When light is bright, your eye constricts by contracting or dilating your pupils. It does this to protect itself from being damaged. What’s interesting is that scientists used to think this very fast reaction occurred completely as an automatic reflex, and that our higher brain wasn’t used.

If you compare the above figure with the below one, and if you measured the actual amount of light they both give off, you would quickly discover that the same amount of light is reaching your eyes. It’s just that your brain interprets the top image as brighter. But what’s really strange is that your eye alone thinks the top one is brighter, too.

The inside space surrounded by "petals" appears to be darker than the outer space!

Our eyes will actually constrict as a reflex when they’re looking at the first image, meaning that they constrict when the brighter light is only an illusion! This means our eyes and brain are reacting to what we think we see, rather than what’s really there! Researchers Bruno Laeng and Tor Endestad explain in their research that our brain and sensory organs react with each other much more than we realize. What they believe, is that we create illusions because they help us protect ourselves from possible future events.

See the below picture containing both shapes next to each other. Who would guess both of their insides were equal in brightness and amount of light they cast!

Which figure's center is brighter?

Hope you learned something new today! Before I log-out, let me show you another example. Pretty much same effect happens below:

  • cool froggy

    whoaa thats a really cool illusion u can do this with a torch and mirror aswell and 1st post i think :)

    • SmartGirl

      You’re wrong.
      The middle is same as the background. Our eyes got fooled by the shades and tints as if it was the sun.

  • Obsessed with Illusion

    Man, these illusions are getting better and better and better. an someone tell me the importance of being he 1st commenter?

    • Aeros

      self importance.

    • spelling corrector

      there is nothging important about it! oh and you missed out the “d” in and

    • Spelling corrector corrector

      … “C” in “Can”.

    • spelling corrector

      you also misse the “t” in the

  • breandan

    I’m able to feel my eyes constrict, it was an intresting sensation to feel them constrict just as I’m telling my brain it’s an illusion.

  • i

    really cool illusion i give 4 stars ****

  • Lee

    Wow, today’s illusion is great! The black-n-white bars at the bottom REALLY messed with my vision. It was difficult to read the text immediately above them. I experienced the same odd visual effect as putting on the theater Real-3D glasses (polarized lenses) and looking around a normally lit room. Each eye was processing something different and it confused my brain. :)

  • 2NE1

    the first three scroll down slow ! awesome

  • owen

    i actually just got 100 dollars by betting on this illusion. silly friends, tricks are for money! : )

  • anonymous

    ow my eyes!

  • Scott

    I love this site/gadget. Daily proof that you can’t trust you’re own eyes / brain!

  • Quinn

    Get close to the bright center image and back away. Go back and forth. The “petals” in the image get darker the further away you get and lighter the closer you get.

  • kjm0591

    very nice and thank for explanation

  • eric

    illusion’s interesting except…
    false description!
    your eye does not differentially constrict
    your iris cannot simultaneously dilate for the ‘dark’ AND ‘constrict’ for the light aspects in a single image – 1 iris, 1 pupil, 1 contraction

    everything else is true though – its just a function of con/rod activation on your retina and not pupil constriction

  • Mary

    It also pulsates for me – maybe it’s my getting older eyes. AND I seem to get a continuation of the pattern inside the circle, especially the seemingly brighter one. That image is very faint and doesn’t last long.

  • MissAi

    that’s so cool!

  • saki

    Its all illusion: light, words, religions, faiths
    and relationships. All games people are finding as
    they grow.

  • Care Bear

    Please don’t mess with my brain and sight, not this soon after changing to daylight savings time. My circadian rhythms are wonky and I need to get them straightened out first.

  • Andrew


  • Glendalough

    Scroll up/down really fast on first 2 images and SEE THE PETALS MOVE! Its magic, I say, magiccccc.

  • why me!?!?

    this is really cool! I think this is one of the best illusions i have ever seen!

  • danny

    this is awesome, i could feel my pupils

  • stardragon

    Head toward the light… I could see it glowing brighter.

    • stardragon

      Oh! When you look at the first one, the flower is expanding!