What is happening when we look at an optical illusion?

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What is happening when we look at an optical illusion?

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Your brain is trying to process the information the best way it can which can result in some strange things.

A lot of how we perceive things is actually in what our brain ignores. Processing every bit of visual information would be tremendously taxing, so the brain takes shortcuts, makes assumptions, and works out a lot of things from context.

You’ve got a lot of rules built up from experience that tell you how objects are supposed to work, what’s possible and what isn’t, and optical illusions break the rules that your brain is expecting normal objects to follow, either because they’re just something rare like a mirage, or they’re specifically crafted to violate them. Y

our brain knows, for example, that when it sees something and there’s a shadow, it’s almost always cast by a light source coming from above, so if you look at a picture of a footprint, it can look like it’s popping out of the dirt because the shadow is the wrong way around.