I like to consider myself pretty adept at picking up on optional illusions quickly. This one that’s currently trending on Facebook actually threw me for a loop. After turning my computer screen sideways, squinting, zooming in, and backing off, I still had to cheat and dig through the comments to figure out what I was supposed to see. This may have hurt the ego a bit.
It really is one of those things that once you see it, you can’t un-see it, and then you wonder how you were so utterly blind in the first place. (To avoid spoilers, I’ll post the answer at the end of the article, under the photo, so you may want to stare at it a bit before you scroll down).
Optional illusions are popular (everyone remember the blue/gold dress?) because it can be pretty hard to understand why our brain isn’t seeing what should be so obvious.
According to Inside Science, optical illusions work because your brain is cheating a little bit. When you look at something, what you actually see is the light that bounces off of it. That light changes to electrical currents which your brain translates into an image (it all happens very quickly!) Sometimes your brain takes a few shortcuts because it can be hard for your mind to translate everything it sees so quickly.
The shades of color and textures in the image in question look similar enough that your brain sort of mushes everything together.
Try covering the top third of the picture and the bottom third See it now?
If you are still struggling to catch a glimpse of what you should be seeing: it’s a cigar, sticking outwards.
How long did it take you to solve this optical illusion? Share it with your friends on Facebook and see if they can solve it faster.