Get ready to learn some unfortunate facts about our feeble human minds.
We may be used to optical illusions that involve giving anyone a giant bust or cats with mysterious holes in them, but we’ve never come across an image that literally disappears before your very eyes before.
Twitter user Massimo posted this optical illusion that has recently captured the imagination of the Japanese Internet, and you have to see it (or not see it?) to believe it.
▼ Click on the image for the full view, then stare at the
center for 20 seconds and watch it mysteriously vanish.
Did it work for you? I have to admit that when I first tried it, I was skeptical. I stared at the center of the pastel image, but my eyes kept bouncing around and I thought to myself, “Oh no I’ve messed it up, there’s no way it’ll disappear now… oh my god it’s gone!”
This effect is called Troxler’s fading, named after Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler, the Swiss physician who first identified the phenomenon in 1804. Put into oversimplified terms, we humans tend to stop stop sensing unvarying stimuli. The same way you’ll stop feeling a piece of paper resting on your arm (unless it moves around), your eyes will stop seeing the unstimulating, light pastel colors (unless they change somehow).
▼ Ah ha! All those years I lost the Easter Egg hunts, it was because I was
staring right at the pastel eggs and they just disappeared! (End imaginary rant.)
But here’s the real question: what did Japanese netizens think of the illusion?
“Holy crap! It disappeared!”
“This is the best animated GIF I’ve ever seen.”
“It’s not disappearing for me?”
(In response) “You weakling! It’s because you don’t even have the patience to stare in one spot for 20 seconds!”
“I’m worried about people who see it disappear driving on the road….”
(In response) “Actually, you should be worried about those who don’t see it disappear. They should see an eye doctor!”
“I kept waiting for it to change into something shockingly gory and gross.”
“What’s the big deal? Besides just pictures, I do this with tons of stuff I don’t like. Just stare at it until it disappears.”
If you want to see more Japanese netizens have their minds blown by changing pictures, then check out what happens when they stare at a red dot for 30 seconds. Or see some natural, homegrown Japanese optical illusions of their own!