Decorative Wall Art: Optical Illusions

Written by Milan Jara

Decorative Wall Art: Optical Illusions

You are looking at a black and white picture of a vase when someone comes by and comments on the two girls in the picture. "What girls?" may be your first response, but then you examine the piece of art closely and there they are: two girls facing each other where when you first looked, there was only a vase. We are often told that seeing is believing, but that isn't always the case. When what is there is different from what we see, we call this an optical illusion. Optical illusions can happen when our brain can't understand what it sees. Our brain makes many assumptions about what we see, and optical illusions use patterns or colors to trick our brains.

Optics for Kids

Learn more about optics and optical illusions here.

Fun With Illusions

What is an optical illusion? Is what you see what is really there? Learn more about optical illusions and test yourself with examples here.

Optical Illusions from Science Kids

Just because you see it doesn't mean it is (or isn't) there. Take a trip through the world of optical illusions.

What is An Illusion?

Sometimes, what we see isn't what's actually there. Learn about illusions and how simple tricks can make your brain see, or not see, what's right in front of you.

Neuroscience for Kids

Why do you see one thing while someone else sees another? Optical illusions work by fooling your brain.

Optical Illusions

Optical illusions have been around for a long time. See classic examples and learn how to make your own!

Types of Optical Illusions

Take a look at all the different kinds of optical illusions.

Exploring Optical Illusions (PDF)

In this PDF, the Museum of Vision explains how the eye works and includes several illusions.

Gallery of Visual Illusions

Just how good are your eyes? Test yourself against these mind-bending illusions and see who wins.

Optical Illusions: Faux Images That Trick Your Eyes

A picture is worth a thousand words. How about a picture that is more than a picture? Explore how small changes in color and size affect what you see.

Magic Tricks for Kids

Get a glimpse of the magic behind some amazing optical illusions.

Online Exhibits at the Exploratorium

Dig deeper into the science behind common optical illusions.

These Patterns Move, But It's All an Illusion

Check out some neat optical illusions on this page from the Smithsonian.

Professor Kitaoka's Optical Illusions Page

Did you know there are certain shapes that can make you think they are moving, even when they are still?

Eye Didn't Know That!

Sometimes, seeing isn't believing. Explore a range of visual illusions that will leave you guessing.

Chalice or Faces

This is a classic optical illusion: Do you see a chalice or two faces?

The Most Amazing Optical Illusions (And How They Work)

LiveScience explores the art of optical illusions and explains the science behind some of the best ones.

Make Your Own Optical Illusions

Want to get your hands dirty? This easy-to-follow guide shows you how to make amazing illusions that will stump your friends.

Perception and the Brain

A great tutorial explains how our brains work and how little things can make your brain see what isn't there.

Kids and Optics

Get a more in-depth understanding of optics with these interesting videos and projects! Inspire them to look at everyday things, like wall panels and ceiling tiles in a different way.

Optical Illusions and Visual Phenomena

Ready to put yourself to the test? This page is full of interesting illusions that will stretch your brain.

What is a Mirage?

On a hot day, it can look like there is water floating in the air. This is an illusion caused by heat and light. Learn more about mirages and how they are created.

The Science of Optical Illusions

Go behind the science of optical illusions and see how we can trick our brains to see what doesn't exist.

Optical Illusions for Kids

This interactive website contains many illusions.

Illusion Gallery

Tie your brain in knots with this extensive gallery of visual illusions!

Optical Illusions

See if you can figure out these optical illusions before time runs out!

Find the Black Dot

Can you find the black dot? Or is there one at all?

Drawing an Optical Illusion (PDF)

Follow the instructions to draw your own optical illusion.

What Optical Illusions Show Us About Visual Perception

This is an in-depth look at how our brains make images and how to fool them.

Visual Illusions That Show How We (Mis)Think (video)

A scientist looks at tricks that fool the eyes.

Visual Perception Tests

Are your eyes are sharp as you think? Test your skills with these perception challenges!

Benham's Disk

Try your hand at this traditional optical illusion.

Color Silencing

Colors don't actually talk, but this video shows how colors can be made to disappear from your sight.

The Parthenon: An Optical Illusion (video)

Optical illusions aren't only pictures. This short video explains how the Parthenon, one of the most famous buildings in history, contains optical illusions.

Optical Illusions: When Your Brain Can't Believe Your Eyes

This short article explains what happens when the eyes and the brain can't agree and how that creates optical illusions.

Amazing T-Rex Illusion

A simple video shows how your eyes can be fooled by three-dimensional objects. Watch until the end to discover the trick to this amazing illusion.

Optical Illusions

Learn more about optical illusions and how your brain can be tricked to see things that aren't really there.

National Geographic's Brain Games

Think your brain is up to the challenge? National Geographic's Brain Games will show you just how much your brain can be fooled. Watch episodes or explore the collection of optical illusions.

Optical Illusions

Check out some more fun optical illusions on this page.

How Your Eyes Deceive You

Read a more scholarly look at just what goes on in our brains when what we see and what we think we see don't agree.

- Milan Jara

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