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Why can't I see the illusions?

Have you ever noticed that you take longer to notice optical illusions, or maybe you don't notice them at all? If this is you, you're not alone.

Can you spot the panda among these snowmen?


Associate Professor Paul E Dux, from the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland, said the difficulty with locating an image like the panda hiding among the snowmen is because some people have stronger ‘special attention’ than others. Panda among the snowmen is really focusing on visual search (how you search through space and a visual environment). Basically, you’re finding a target in a mass of distracting objects. The reason why some people find it and others don’t is because some have better ‘spatial attention’ than others.

"The other reason is that people sometimes just get lucky, and the eyes fall on the target immediately. Finding an image like the panda within the snowmen shows how we distribute attention across space. When there’s distracters among the target it’s harder to see. The panda image here shows how difficult it is to find one slightly different item among other quite similar items."



How long did it take you to find the panda?

Magic Eyes

Can you see a shape hidden in the image below?


The trick of Magic Eyes is the relationship between our eyes and brain. Your eyes are made of photoreceptors and neurons, and are best considered as an extension of your brain. When you look at the Magic Eye, some of the processing is done in the eyes, but most is done in the brain. The process takes about a tenth of a second, but your eyes receive a constant stream of information, so it’s difficult for your brain to try to focus on everything at once. So your brain takes shortcuts, simplifying what you see to help you concentrate. Optical illusions fool our brains by taking advantage of these kinds of shortcuts.

Try taking a step back from the screen and squinting. Better? See the hidden image revealed below. 


“One school of thought suggests that some illusions highlight the way the brain constantly tries to predict what will happen. The theory goes that many illusions show that we try to predict the future to compensate for the slight delay between an event and our conscious perception of it." 

Try one more...


Can you see the shape? See the answer below:


Next time you're struggling to spot and optical illusion, just know that you're not alone! 


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