It is likely that on more than one occasion you have spent long minutes with your eyes fixed on the screen, trying to decipher some optical illusion that you have found through social networks, but you do not get anything more than what you try. If you are one of those people who find it difficult to see the tricks hidden in optical illusions, this will be no exception.

Discover the 16 “hidden” circles

It was created by Anthony Norcia of the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute , and it’s just amazing. Most people only see a series of squares, and some will not see the 16 circles that are hidden in the image, unless someone points them out how to do it.

How to look at the image?

After a few minutes, some get angry thinking that this optical illusion is a joke, but really you just need to have a little patience and fix your eyes on the center of the image . After a few seconds, you will see the circles. The funny thing is that once you see them, it is difficult to see the squares again, because your brain has already captured which image you want to give more meaning to.

Why can’t we see the circles the first time?

Our visual system is made up of the eyes and the brain, basically they are photoreceptors and neurons, which can be understood as “extruded” parts of the brain . Some of the processing is done in the eyes, but most of it is done in the brain.

When we look at an image, what we really see is the light that bounced and entered our eyes, which converts that light into electrical impulses that travel to the brain, where they are transformed into an image that we make sense of.

This process is very fast, it barely takes a tenth of a second, but we cannot forget that our eyes receive a constant stream of light, an incredible amount of information that our brain simply cannot process in unison to give it coherent meaning. In practice, it would be something like trying to take a sip of water with a fire hose.

Since it is so difficult to process all visual information, our brain decides to take shortcuts to make the decoding process more efficient. How does it work? By simplifying what we see to help us focus on what’s most important, this allows us to compensate for the processing lag of that tenth of a second.

In practice, as a result of experience, our brain already has predetermined shortcuts to help us process what we see more quickly. That is precisely what this optical illusion takes advantage of. For example, as a general rule, our brain prioritizes sharp shapes in curves because it considers them more dangerous. That is why we look at the squares first and only then see the circles.

To this is added that neurons compete with each other to see the light and dark parts of the image, so it is necessary to prioritize first one meaning and then the other. Therefore, the time it takes to see the circles of this optical illusion can tell you how rigid the shortcuts your brain has created to process visual information are, or how easy it is for you to “hack” those shortcuts.

If you still have not been able to see the circles in the image, we will show them to you:

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses. He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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