This optical illusion plays tricks on your brain
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This effect is named after a Swiss physician and philosopher Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler , who discovered it in It is essentially a trick of perception that describes what happens if you fix your gaze upon a single point in the visual field. It doesn't even have to be for a long time — 10 seconds would do. That can make images and colors disappear from your peripheral vision.
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Look at the black cross at the center of the image and the spots in this "lilac chaser" illusion will fade away in a few seconds. A grey background and the cross will remain unless you are among those who will also see a moving blue-green spot. You might even notie a bunch of green spots when you move your eyes away after a while.
Visual Phenomena & Optical Illusions
Research indicates the effect is related to how neurons important for perceiving stimuli are adapted by the visual system. Unchanging stimuli will eventually disappear from our awareness while our mind will fill the areas where they used to be with the background information or color.
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A "sensory fading" or "filling-in" is linked to saccades — involuntary eye movements that happen even when the gaze appears settled. If we fixate on a point, an unmoving image or scene would fade from view in a few seconds thanks to the " local neural adaptation of the rods, cones and ganglion cells in the retina," explains the Illusions Index. While studies showed the effect doesn't only occur in the eyes but partially in the brain, there's not yet a definitive explanation for everything involved in this unusual visual phenomenon. From insects that appear to climout of a screen onto the audience to a flow of oil that seems to flow upwards back into its can, at ILLUSION seeing is not believing.
Get in touch with Sarah Durcan, who is happy to help you with your enquiry or supply you with more details about any of our exhibitions. Should we always believe what we see right in front of us? Can you trust your senses? Has technology made things clearer or muddied the waters between reality and fiction?