As soon as you place your eyes on this optical illusion you’ll notice fluttering black dots at each intersection of gray lines. You might be seeing three or four dots at a time but there are actually 12 altogether — 12 black dots that your brain won’t allow you to see all at once, which is why it works.
The optical illusion was created by game developer Will Kerslake and has caused quite the stir on the internet as onlookers try to figure out how exactly Kerslake’s optical illusion works. There was even a scientific research paper from October 2000 titled, Variations on the Hermann Grid: An Extinction Illusion, is determined to get to the bottom of how this optical illusion works. The research found that,
“When the white disks in a scintillating grid are reduced in size, and outlined in black, they tend to disappear. One sees only a few of them at a time, in clusters which move erratically on the page. Where they are not seen, the grey (sic) alleys seem to be continuous, generating grey crossings that are not actually present.”
This crowding makes it hard to recognize these objects because we typically “do not combine information from multiple fixations in a fully integrated and detailed representation.”
Here’s the same picture. Look again. You’ll see a totally different set of dots.
And here’s another one to try. All the dots in this illusion are white, but some appear black:
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