This Optical Illusion Is Powerful To Trick Our Reflexes

This Optical Illusion Is Powerful To Trick Our Reflexes
The "expanding hole" is a new illusion for science and is powerful enough to make the human eye expand in anticipation of entering a dark space. Credits: Laeng, Nabil and Kitaoka

The illusion of "widening hole" causes our pupils to dilate in anticipation of a slight reduction. Although a static image, an optical illusion that is new to science appears to the vast majority of individuals as a growing hole. This highly dynamic illusion is so powerful at deceiving our brain that it induces a dilation reflex, causing our pupils to dilate and letting in more light in anticipation of going somewhere dark.
Take a look at this picture. Do you feel like you are traveling through a gloomy atmosphere or falling into a hole as the core black hole expands?

If so, you're not alone: ​​About 86 percent of people believe in the 'growing hole' illusion, which is new to science, according to a new study.

"The 'expanding hole' is an extremely dynamic illusion: The circular blot or shadow gradient of the central black hole gives the impression of a distinct optical flow, as if the observer were moving towards a hole or tunnel," said Bruno Laeng. , professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Oslo and first author of the study.

Researchers in the discipline of psychosociology study optical illusions to better understand the complex mechanisms our visual system uses to predict and make sense of the visual world.

In a recent study published May 30, 2022 in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Laeng and colleagues reveal that the 'growing hole' illusion is so good at fooling our brains that a pupil dilation reflex even causes more light to enter. This is exactly what would happen if we moved to a dark place.

Student response is based on perception rather than reality. "Here, using the new 'growing hole' illusion, we show that the pupil responds to how we perceive light, not just the amount of light energy that actually enters the eye."

According to Laeng, “the illusion of the enlarging hole causes the pupil to dilate proportionally, just as darkness actually increases.”

According to Laeng and colleagues, the color of the hole (other than black: blue, cyan, green, magenta, red, yellow, or white) and surrounding dots have an impact on how strongly we respond to the illusion psychologically and physiologically.

They showed 50 men and women with normal vision variations of the 'growing hole' image on a screen and asked them to subjectively judge how strong the illusion was.

The researchers watched the individuals' eye movements and the unconscious contraction and expansion of the pupils while looking at the image. Participants were shown 'scrambled' versions of the growing hole image with even brightness and color but no pattern as a control.

When the hole was black, the illusion was strongest. When the hole is black, 14 percent of respondents did not notice any false expansion, while 20 percent did not notice any false expansion when the hole was colored. The subjective degree of illusion differed significantly among individuals experiencing enlargement.
The researchers also discovered that black holes cause subjects' pupils to reflexively dilate, but colored holes cause their pupils to constrict. Individual participants' pupil diameter tended to fluctuate in response to how strong they subjectively rated their illusion impressions for black holes, but not for colored holes.

Exceptions Are Not at Risk

Researchers aren't sure why some people seem immune to the 'growing hole' illusion. They also don't know whether other vertebrate species, even camera-eyed invertebrates like octopuses, are aware of this illusion.

“Our results show that the pupil dilation or contraction reflex is not a closed-loop mechanism that is impervious to any information other than the actual amount of light stimulating the photoreceptor, such as a photocell opening a door. Instead, the eye adapts not just to physical energy, but to perceived and even imagined light. Future work may reveal other types of physiological or bodily changes that could 'shed light' on how illusions work,” Laeng concluded.

source: scitechdaily

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