This Is How Optical Illusions Fool Your Brain

As perfectly illustrated by the countless optical illusions you can find on the internet, things aren't always as they seem. Colors, lines, shapes, and patterns have a funny ability to trick you brain into seeing things that you know you shouldn't see, which can sometimes be a bit maddening. Thankfully, a new video from DNews offers a helpful breakdown on the scientific explanations for why this happens. 

As DNews host Jules Suzdaltsev explains, optical illusions are likely the result of your brain compensating for the less than a tenth of a second it takes to process all the information collected by your eyes -- essentially predicting what it thinks you should see. Basically, the illusions take advantage of that tiny delay and cause your brain to screw up in crazy ways that often make you see things that shouldn't be there. The video goes on to explain three types of optical illusions -- literal illusions, physiological illusions, and cognitive illusions -- with examples showing how each of them work. 

One example of a cognitive illusion is the famous Penrose Stairs, or "the impossible staircase," which as Suzdaltsev explains, is consistent with how a staircase should work in our minds while at the same time being obviously impossible as a real-life, three-dimensional staircase. Sure, it's not one of those trippy, swirling illusions, but it's pretty damn fascinating.

While the video notes that the current scientific understanding for why optical illusions occur is far from crystal clear, one thing is fairly certain: optical illusions will never stop being entertaining. Check out the full video for all the details, and best of all, more illusions. 

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and has never been a huge fan of optical illusions. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.