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By on November 7, 2013, with 9 Comments  

Enjoy a good brain teaser every now and then? If you said yes to this then I dare you to take a chance at this brain teaser. The object of this exercise is to say the name of the color the word is printed in, not what the word says. The second part of this brain teaser is you must say it at a normal speaking pace.  I will even give you three tries to get through it without slowing down. Can’t seem to get it? Do not worry, you are not the only one having trouble. The better question is; how can this be so difficult? This brain teaser is actually part of what is called “The Stroop Test.”

If Stroop has a test, then what is the actual effect you ask? Well, the Stroop effect is an example of the interesting case where the brain’s reaction time actually slows down when it has to deal with conflicting information. This delayed reaction time is happening because of a processing delay that is caused by competing functions in your brain. This effect is named after John Ridley Stroop who published a paper back in 1935 but the effect had been studied abroad before Stoop’s publishing’s.

Optical IllusionSo what does all that mean exactly? It basically means in this brain teaser there is a conflict between what we read and what we perceive. Yellow should not be green. Red should not be blue. This sort of illusion also happened in our Test for the Sharp Minded as well. It is also possible that this task is difficult because it requires both hemispheres of our brain to work together. This brain teaser causes both sides of your brain to work at the same time and that is not something that is usually done. Some theories state that the brain reads words faster than it recognizes colors. So when you go to say the color your mind has already read the word, crazy right? After several attempts of the same pattern you may be able to say it without stopping, but change up the words and colors you would have to start all over again. It is an interesting feeling to have your brain actually fight it out with your mouth, I myself came up with words and colors I do not believe even exist.

The great part about this test is it doesn’t just come in words and colors. This brain teaser can actually be done numerous ways and each is just as difficult to do. I have seen some where they are using shapes and colors with mismatched shape names and other colors underneath and you must again attempt to say what shape is printed and the color it is printed it. No matter the use of colors, words, shapes, or symbols the Stroop Test has the same results across the board. This is just another fun brain teaser to do with your friends and see who comes up with the weirdest words and colors.

By on November 6, 2013, with 1 Comment  

Check out these black and white optical illusions playing tricks on your eyes and with only two colors! A few of my favorite illusions of all time are in black and white; hopefully you will find them just as enjoyable as I do. These black and white circular lines make this illusion seem like there are various depths in the image that create different entryways and tunnels. Looking at some of these illusions too long may make you feel like you are following the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland right down the tunnel. Before you attempt to chase the rabbit down the hole you should know there actually aren’t any tunnels in these images and attempting to jump into the imaginary world could result in a broken bone, or even worse a broken computer.

It is all in how you look at the image as well as the angle you are looking at it from. This type of illusion is similar to the Grid Illusion we previously encountered that involved seeing little black dots jump from space to space as you starred at the image. It is just another trick on your eye receptors and how we perceive the colors. These types of illusions can be found in several different shapes and sizes. Each one of the images twists the mind into seeing something that is not necessarily there.

Slanted Illusions

The first  black and white illusion has a variety of realistic touches to it that would make you think there is something at the end of the tunnel.  Your eyes can make you believe you would be able to walk down this picture without a second thought. It is almost like taking a trip down the black and white brick road where the end is infinite and filled with uncertainty.  Just like the previous adventure I would not recommend this form of travel to get away from the wicked witch.

This black and white illusion is one of my personal favorites as it really makes you wonder how it could appear one way but be completely different. This is also a great one to use on your children or room-mates for betting who has to do the dishes for the next year. When you look at the image straight on it looks like the lines are slanted right? In actuality the lines are straight across, no slants! If you do not believe me you could always print the image off and draw with a pencil straight lines across each gray line and see the image is not actually slanted, but our eyes perceive it to be.  The vertical zigzag patterns in this image disrupt our horizontal perception this time and it makes us think the squares are falling at a slanted angle.

All of these black and white images create a different world to each individual when looking at them. Each of them is also not what it appears to be and it is amazing to me we are able to create different illusions by only using black and white colors.

By on November 5, 2013, with 11 Comments  

The picture you can see here is what is known as an optical illusion, some may even go as far as calling it a scary illusion. At first glance you might see two young people deeply in love as the man serenades the woman, or perhaps you see two senior citizens looking deep into one another’s eyes and smiling lovingly at the other. Maybe if you’re like me, an alcoholic, you see the golden chalice between them which could easily hold a nice frothy beverage. This scary illusion holds it all and what you see in the painting all depends on your own mind. No matter which of these things you might perceive you are not wrong.

This famous painting is called “Old couple or musician” and it was created by the great Salvador Dali. Dali was known for his love of painting optical illusions and this is perhaps his most well known application of that effect. An optical illusion occurs when your eye and your brain misinterpret the reality of an image, they can be used for a fun visual effect in movies or if you’re a moth they can be a means of survival out in the wild.

scary optical illusionsWhether or not this is a scary illusion is really based on the person looking at the painting. Here is my interpretation of this particular work: an older couple are looking at one another remembering what each looked like when they were younger. As you can see on the right side of the image the male is smiling playing a stringed instrument, however in the background you can also see a female looking on from the archway as he plays music. I believe this is the old woman on the left staring at him in her youth, in contrast he is looking at her and sees her younger self on the left side. The chalice between them could signify anything really, such as the grail of life which legend says prolongs a human’s life, or it could symbolize the concept of life being a struggle, which should involve a quest for a higher meaning and purpose.

Some people interpret this piece as unsettling or spooky as well, and I could definitely see that, the faces do look skeletal in some respects and Dali enjoyed invoking dark or frighting feelings within his audience. Another interpretation of this piece that is also a bit darker: that the man on the right is remembering when he was young and is in fact recalling a different woman in the back of his mind as he looks on at his aging spouse, that he is lusting after what could have been or even another girl in the present.

That’s the great thing about optical illusions, scary illusions, and art in general. They paintings can be many different things to different people. I highly recommend taking a look at some of Dali’s other paintings we’ve featured here and enjoying his optical illusions along with me.

By on November 4, 2013, with 18 Comments  

Here is another intriguing #test for the sharp minded.  Check out the reading card below, and see if you can spot the illusion immediately.  Actually, it’s a very simple test, so no hints will be provided.  When you’re finished, and think you have the answer – check the solution, and see if you were right!  BTW, I am glad you liked our previous “Single Photo Illusion“, I think it was magnificent as well!

How many times have you looked at a picture or image and thought something was wrong with it but you just couldn’t figure out what it was?  Do you sit there and ponder the picture trying to determine where you went wrong and what needs to be done to make the picture correct?  It has been said that your mind can play tricks on you, but many people don’t realize just how powerful the mind can be.  You can look at something one time and never notice a problem because your mind can correct the problem as it looks at the image or reads the passage.

Sharp Mind IllusionFor many individuals, they don’t even think there was a problem with what they read in the first place.  Others might notice the issue quickly without having to think twice about it.  A simple sentence with misspelled words or words out of place can quickly be corrected in your brain before you ever realize there is a problem with it.  For example, what if you saw the following sentence: Do ewe sea the problum with the pitcher?  Even though your brain might read the sentence as “Do you see the problem with the picture?”, the sentence on the paper is loaded with spelling errors and improper word usage that far extend what your brain is telling you.

To understand the manner in which you can keep your mind sharp and hone in on your skills, take a look at this test and see how much of a genius you really are.  See if you are able to spot the illusion immediately or if it takes you a second glance to find it.  Since the test is relatively simple, you won’t be given any hints to help you out this time around.

Were you able to figure it out on the first time through?  Did you have to take a second glance to make sure you got it right?  When you take the time to look for problems with an image, it tends to be easier to spot where the problem lies.  Not knowing there is an issue with an image or piece of text can cause you to miss something that is right in front of you all along.

Testing your mind on a regular basis allows you to remain sharp minded and able to identify errors quickly and easily.  When double words are thrown into a piece of text, people will often skip over the second word without ever realizing it was there.  The brain automatically triggers a response in the individual to read the text in the manner in which it was supposed to be written.  Instead of browsing for errors and spotting everything that was wrong with the piece, the brain goes into auto-correct and fixes any problems with ease.  Training your brain to alert you to these errors can keep you on top of your game and catch any mistakes with your own writing before they become worse than they need to be.

By on November 4, 2013, with 2 Comments  

How many times have you seen those enormous street paintings that look entirely different when viewed from the right angle?  Have you ever gazed upon a painting to see a large dolphin jumping from out of a pool or an airplane soaring through the clouds?  Now, your candlesticks can appear as if they are three dimensional, when in reality, they are nothing more than a 2-D design.  By creating something different, these 3-D optical illusion candleholders look absolutely amazing without having to spend a fortune decorating your home.  You can play a trick on all of your friends when they look at these intricate optical illusion candlesticks.

The designer of these beautiful pieces of art, Chehanowski, has been exploring the relationship between the realm of 2-D and 3-D for quite some time.  It wasn’t until Chehanowski wanted to design something that you could hold in a single hand that the optical illusion candlestick came into play.  The Flatlight is a magnificent piece of jewelry for the table, which is why so many people enjoy being able to bring this simple piece of artwork into their home.  Once you have the chance to look at the piece, you will love trying to figure out just how it all works together.  For many people, they don’t understand how one piece could work so intricately to create a layered look to house your candles and light your home.

Check out the optical illusion candleholder below and see what you think of this stunning piece. 3-d candleBy combining a classic object with a traditional design, the optical illusion candleholder resembles that of a CAD drawing that has been ironed flat with a giant steamroller.  When you rest a candle on top of it, the piece looks like an abstract smear of beautiful brass lattice.  If you view it head on, the Flatlight will pop out and become an intricate 3-D wired frame.  It truly is a piece of art for your dining room table that you have to see to believe.

Designing this piece requires a great deal of work into making sure the perspective and angle are perfect.  The prototype was produced with laser-cutting tools.  After trying a few times, the accuracy couldn’t be achieved using the laser-cutting tools, so another method had to come into play to make sure everything was perfect.

Little details tend to be the most important when it comes to creating an optical illusion candlestick.  In the end, the artist was able to produce the piece with photochemical etching, which essentially machines all of the excess material along a thin, brass sheet to the utmost of precision.

Even though some might consider this to be nothing more than a gimmick, it is catching the attention of numerous designers around the world.  By creating an object that makes someone look twice and actually reach out to touch it, you have effectively achieved your goal as a designer.  3-D art definitely keeps the mind sharp and the viewer on his or her toes. Bringing a smile to the face of others is what it’s all about when it comes to creating 3-D optical illusions. If you can’t get enough of 3-D art, be sure to check out More 3D Pencil Art.

By on November 4, 2013, with 1 Comment  

The question on everyone’s mind when looking at this photo is pretty much the same across the board “how did that horse fit inside the other ones mouth!?” Some may even wonder when horses decided that eating each other was necessary in order to survive; but I believe the bigger question is how could this even be possible. After looking at the photo for several minutes you may realize that this is simply a trick of perspective. Another question that arises with this new found revelation: how did someone pull this stunt off? The simple answer being, it’s perfect timing.

Perfectly timed photos mainly consist of three important components combined together to create something straight out of a Sci-Fi fantasy movie. These three perfectly timed components are: the perfect place, perfect time, and the perfect angle. By having at least two of three of these components together you can create impossible images from the
possible. So don’t worry, horses haven’t really turned to cannibalism just yet.

2_o7FLaZo0aGx3HWh-ifTg2These types of photos, which are often referred to as perfectly timed photos, come in a variety of ways as well as strangeness; but how do people get them to look this way? While most are based on being at the right place at the right time with a camera in hand there are a few ways you can attempt to create a masterpiece just like this.

“Perfect place” is probably the easiest of the three to do, you can practically go anywhere and find something to turn into a hilarious image your friends and followers will laugh about for days. There are many places where photos like this appear, some are even in nature. One of my personal favorite nature illusions is the Panada Optical Illusion. Perfect place may seem like a good place to start however the other two components maybe not be as easy to complete.

“Perfect timing” requires a little more skill and patience, much like planning on proposing to the love of your life or deciding on Frogger when to jump into the next lane of traffic, timing is everything. Most cameras these days are able to take several instantaneous photos at once to make the job easier, you would just need to be intuitive enough to know when to take the photo. In the horse illusion the person holding the camera had to wait just long enough for the horse to start yawning in order to make it appear he had eaten his fellow companion. How long the photographer was standing there i can not personally say, i personally have never watched or waited for a horse to yawn.

“Perfect angle” may in fact be the most difficult of the three to create without any outside help. You’ll notice in the photo illusion the perfect angle was staring straight at the horse from the side so when he opened his mouth you could see the other one. Deciding on what angle and where to point the camera may not have the most obvious answer when attempting to create a perfectly timed photo.

These types of photos and illusions can be created anywhere while doing anything. It’s not something that is easily created and most are taken out of sheer luck, but it is still something that can make you stop and take a second glace.

By on November 4, 2013, with 0 Comments  

220px-Grid_illusion.svgTry staring at this grid and counting the black dots in total, can’t seem to get them to hold still? Hate to break it to you but, it’s all in your mind. This particular illusion is called The Scintillating Grid. This is an optical illusion which consists of small black squares with white lines containing even smaller white dots at each crossing.

The Scintillating Grid is a unique and fun illusion that tricks the eye and mind into thinking the dots change colors as you look around the image. If you keep your eyes directly on a single intersection however, the dark dot does not appear. The dark dots will even disappear if you are too close or too far from the image and that can make trying to get the dots to quit moving quite a challenge.

So how many black dots are actually on this creative illusion? The answer is actually none; it’s all part of the trick. I myself was convinced there had to be at least one black dot somewhere in the grid in order to pull this off however there simply aren’t any in the entire image.
hg1While there are many theories on why you may see these black dots we still aren’t exactly sure why it’s happening and as if attempting to count black dots in this illusion wasn’t enough to drive someone crazy already there are actually several different illusions that are similar to the Scintillating Grid. This particular illusion was discovered in 1994 by E. Lingelbach who actually based this illusion off of the Hermann Grid illusion.

The effect of both grid illusions is commonly explained by a neural process called lateral inhibition. Retinal cells in the eye work as light receptors. If only one single receptor is lit up, it views a larger amount of light than when closer receptors are also lit up. The lighting of these receptors hinders the work of other nearby receptors, and the effect is transmitted across instead. In the Scintillating grid illusion, the setup of the white lines creates an issue where there is more light surrounding the intersections than there is along the bands between the intersections. So the region of the intersection is blocked, and darker spots appear. This effect is heightened when you view the grid peripherally instead since lateral inhibition works over greater distances in peripheral vision. Both types of these grid illusions, as well as related illusions, are being used as tools to help further the study of neuroscience. This is only one of the theories that explain why we can see these black dots floating around from grid to grid.

So try as much as you would like to catch those black dots or even trick a friend into staring and see how long it takes them to catch on; its part of the fun in enjoying little tricks and illusions such as the Scintillating Grid. If you enjoy moving illusions that make you use your brain power; check out the Penrose Triangle Animation.

By on October 27, 2013, with 4 Comments  

penrose triangle illusionThe Penrose triangle, first popularized back in the 50’s by mathematician Roger Penrose is a peculiar impossible object that resembles an illusion only from a certain perspective.

Check the animated #gif below and try and follow the ball moving around its path. It seems to make sense at first, but there’s just something off about it. Actually two corners follow normal Euclidean geometry, but that third one is connected in two different planes. As explained earlier – the literal Penrose triangle cannot exist in real life.