Motion Induced Blindness

What you’ll experience today may ring a bell, as we already featured something similar (yet not as good) in the past. But let me first explain what all the fuss is about:

On your right you can see an animated gif featuring a rotating array of blue crosses and 3 yellow dots. Your single assignment for today is to fixate on the centre and just focus on the flashy green spot. Note that the yellow dots have disappeared after a while – either one by one, or in pairs simultaneously. At one point they even start reappearing randomly!

So where’s the illusion, you may ask? Well, the beauty is that all of the three yellow dots are continuously present on the screen! This effect already got its name, and is called “Motion Induced Blindness”, or MIB in short.

While steady fixation favours disappearance, blinks or gaze shifts induce reappearance. All in all what we have here is reminiscent of the Troxler effect, but much stronger and more resistant to residual eye movements.

What happens if you focus your sight on one of the yellow dots, instead? Think this would also work with different colors? How about different elements and movement? Anyone willing to make a different kind of animation and test it out? Be sure to share your example and results with rest of us! BTW, click on the animation above to see it in higher-res! There you may find few more versions of this optical illusion as well..

57 Replies to “Motion Induced Blindness”

  1. I managed to get the top two dots to disappear, but the constant movement is distracting, and I can’t keep my eyes still long enough to get the last one to go. I think it would work better if the dot in the middle wasn’t flashing, was bigger, and the central cross was removed.

  2. I also notice that the green dot jumps to my right (this might depend on the viewer)

    Does anyone with a dominant left eye notice it changes to the left?

    1. actually the entire graph moves to me, however, i think it is another illusion in itself because it is rotating to the right where as our left eye is dominate

    1. I was going to post a reply saying the same thing. If you stare at one of the yellow dots – the pattern of jumping changes.

  3. not bad – but the bottom one never disappears…
    i think the description is missing the whole blind spot notion (hence they never all disappear at once)

  4. 1st comment.
    I feel as though I’ve seen this very same illusion somewhere on the site before.
    Anyway, love it.
    And also, all 3 yellows disappeared for me for only an instant. Anyone else?

  5. If you look at a yellow dot, the others like it disappear & reappear, but the green flashing one in the middle does not change at all. When looking at the green flashing one the yellows do indeed disappear, and reappear apparently at random.

  6. Too cool, I can get all 3 yellows to disappear and when I fixate on a yellow, I can get the other 2 and the green to disappear, but not for very long.

  7. I think its due to the fact that any image we see it persists on our retina for 12 seconds i.e keep refreshing it for 12 seconds till it fades.When we see central blinking dot the black around it persists in our eyes and this black randomly overlaps and covers green dots and they look disappeared but our mind shifts focus again to center dot where we constanly looking and they appear again.According to my calculation it could not disappear for more than 12 seconds in any case.

  8. It is also like satellite spotting at night with the naked eye. If you look directly at the ‘moving’ dot, a satellite, it will seem to vanish. But look slightly off to the side of motion and the ‘moving’ dot will re-appear.

  9. I think it has to do with the degree of contrast. They blink only when the purple goes behind the yellow. The yellow greatly contrasts with the black, but in terms of greyscale value, isn’t very different from the purple. With the contrast gone, the dot seems to vanish until the black background is back into effect.

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