What You See In These Optical Illusions Reveals How Strange Your Brain *Really* Is

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optical illusions

"Seeing is believing." It's a common phrase — a cliché , even — and probably one you have heard many times before. 

As human beings, we are taught that if we want to get to the truth on any given matter, we have to see it with our own eyes. Even when you've given proof of something from another party, it can be hard to accept something as being real until you've verified it yourself with your own eyes.

It isn't because we don't trust other people or because we're paranoid or anything like that, we're just (most of us) really used to verifying information visually. 

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That's what makes this set of optical illusions completely eerie. Because if you look at something and see it and know it to be true and then find out that it isn't, then your eyes have led you astray. And if you can't trust what you're seeing for yourself, can you trust anything at all?

It's something that a blind person wouldn't understand, because the blind have to use their other senses to navigate the world and to process information. In a way, people who don't have their sight have the advantage!

That's because while we think of our eyes as being complicated high-tech pieces of machinery, the truth of the matter is that the way the eye works is relatively simple. Your eyes filter light and its reflections, and send messages about them to your brain.

When you think about it in those terms, it makes sense that it doesn't really take much to pull one over on your old peepers. 

It doesn't matter if your eyesight is good or bad, either. These optical illusions aren't just pulling a trick on your eyes, they are playing up the way that your eyes send messages to your brain, and twisting them ever-so-slightly. It's like magic, only in a lot of respects it is even better, because it is real. 

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My eyesight has always been poor, and growing up with two blind grandparents, I've always been aware that our eyes, while helpful, aren't exactly something we should take as a given. As a kid, I will never forget the feeling of wandering down a hallway in the dark unable to find my glasses. I felt my left eye begin to drift (because, of course, I had a lazy eye) and it caused me to see double.

I was entranced. I knew it was just a trick, a flaw in the way my eyes were communicating with my brain, but to me it was a magic trick and I was completely enthralled. It's been that way ever since — just ask me about my Magic Eye phase!

That's why I was so completely obsessed with these different optical illusions. But you don't need to wear glasses to try out these tests for yourself. Try them out, and once you do, read about how they work in the first place.

Because unlike magic, there is a scientific explanation at the bottom of each of these illusions, and learning that explanation can make you feel pretty darn magical yourself. 

To take the test for yourself and see how you fare, check it out here.

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the love and dating advice show, Becca After Dark, on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.

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