25 Optical Illusions That Will Make Your Brain Hurt
From spinning circles to disappearing dots, these insane optical illusions aren't what they appear to be. Are you ready to have your mind blown?
These lines appear to be angled up or down, but the horizontal lines are actually all parallel. Need proof? Try covering the top and bottom of one line of squares with a piece of paper. No slants to be found! Learn more about how this optical illusion works.
Your eyes will keep jumping to the spinning sunbursts of seeds—even though they’re all staying still. Optical illusions may get the best of you, but these games will boost your brainpower.
Lose your focus a bit (seriously—try to go a little cross-eyed) and you’ll spot a secret message hiding in the black dots. Take a closer look, though, and the words will disappear from sight. We bet you didn’t know that these famous paintings also had hidden messages.
All about perspective
Can you figure out which of these windows is bigger? Not only are they the exact same size, but their tops and bottoms are also directly in line with each other. Talk about a new perspective. Speaking of a new perspective, boggle your mind with these photos of everyday objects—taken from a side you rarely see.
Innie or outie?
Is the smallest point of this black and white illusion pointing in or sticking out? It’s anyone’s guess. Check out this other optical illusion that makes squiggles look straight.
An oldie but goodie. Your brain thinks there’s a black circle inside each white one—until you focus on that white circle. Then you realize it was never there at all.
When your eyes dart to one seemingly spinning circle, the others around them appear to start rotating. Your eyes don’t know where to look! For more pictures that bend your mind, see if you can guess what these everyday objects are based on close-up photos of them.
Large and small
Which blue dot is bigger: the one on the left or the one on the right? Good for you if you guessed the same size! The left just looks smaller compared to the big circles and empty space around it.
At first glance, the four diamonds in this picture pop right out. But look closer—there’s not a single line creating those shapes. The contrast between the black and white makes your brain assume they exist. In addition to optical illusions, find out which other everyday things secretly mess with your brain.
Optical illusions like this will leave you dazed and confused. The colors seem to be swirling around, even though it’s a still image.
Long and short
Which horizontal line is shorter: the top or the bottom? Trick question—they’re the same size, even though your mind perceives the one with outward wings to be longer. If you love optical illusions, see if you can figure out how many triangles are in this tricky image.
Looks like the background is spinning around a circle, but both are staying completely still.
Moving right along
It looks like the background underneath the sphere is moving downward, like a conveyer belt or a slow treadmill. But it’s a completely still image!
Are you sure the circles in this image aren’t moving? Are you sure they’re not rippling in a wavelike motion? But really—are you positive? This wild illusion might smoke your head as much as these 25 trickiest riddles ever.
Which of the two lines on the right side of the gray rectangle connects to the one on the left side? As you can see from the image on the right, it’s the one on the bottom (labeled in blue)—not the one on the top! When you can’t see the whole picture (literally), these optical illusions can seriously throw you for a loop.
Some of these optical illusions make your head spin! In the optical illusion on the left, the red squares look warped and crooked, like something out of a funhouse. But on the right, when the crazy arrangement of black and white lines is faded to almost nothing, you can see that the red squares are actually as straight and square as can be.
The lines that make up these squares are completely straight—yes, all of them, even the ones in the middle! The placement of the miniature squares-within-the-squares warps the lines and makes them look curved. Continue to test out your brain power with these 19 brain teasers that will leave you stumped.
These red lines might look curved outward—but they’re completely straight! This and the next seven before-and-after images are courtesy of Lenstore, inspired by their mind-boggling “In Perspective” project showcasing optical illusions like these.
How many colors?
Can you figure out how many colors are in this image in total? Did you guess four? Turns out it’s only three! The square in the upper right of this image looks like it contains blue and pink stripes; the one in the lower left seems to have green and orange ones. But, believe it or not, the “blue” and “green” are actually the exact same color! (Click the “reveal” button in the link!) If you got this right, you’re ready to attempt this color test that only 1 percent of people can ace.
Which of the labeled squares is lighter in color: A or B? This one’s quite the trick: They’re actually the same color! It’s just the shadow of the green cylinder that makes them look like different colors.
Under the post, are the lines of this archway meeting in the middle? They sure are! The post makes the lines look mismatched, but sure enough, they connect! Click “reveal” in this link to see the illusion in action. Speaking of archways, find out which famous American monument is actually a giant optical illusion.
Which of these monsters charging through the catacombs is taller? More optical illusions that use the background to trick you! Without the backdrop, you can see that these two freaky fellows are exactly the same—including their height.
Are these long diagonal lines parallel? They sure don’t look it, but they are! Removing the smaller “stitch”-like lines shows the truth about this optical illusion.
Is one of these leaning towers leaning more than the other? It certainly looks like it, but no! The two images are identical; the way they’re positioned next to each other makes the one on the right look steeper. There are plenty of differences in these mind-boggling “spot the difference” photos, though.
Pair of pears
Which of these pears is lighter in color: the one on the left or the one on the right? You’ll see the answer in the next slide!
That’s right; these two pears are exactly the same color! For more before-and-after optical illusions that use motion to trick you, check out Lenstore’s impressive “Moving Perspectives” project. And if you love optical illusions, you’ll love trying out these brain games that’ll test your inner genius.