Scintillating Starburst: Optical Illusion That Tricks Brain Into Seeing Shimmering Rays
Visual illusions are not just some nice puzzle, like a crossword, or an entertainment feature, said Martinez-Conde. "They're important tools in visual research to help us understand how visual processing works in the normal brain and also in the diseased brain."
In recent years, a variety of optical illusions have briefly taken over the Internet, the most famous of which is the notorious Dress. These ocular deceptions not only give a fun diversion, but they also allow scientists to learn more about the nature of vision, the brain, and perception, which is why researchers have now created a brand new illusion dubbed "Scintillating Starburst."
The artwork, which is made up of numerous concentric star polygons, gives the impression of shimmering rays radiating outwards from the image's center, linking each of the bisecting points between the various "braids."
The graphic "illustrates how the brain links the dots" to create a subjective reality in what we perceive, underlining the constructive character of perception," according to researcher, Pascal Wallisch.
The appearance of these transitory light lines may be linked to the interplay between our center and peripheral vision, according to Wallisch and colleagues, who describe the novel illusion in the journal i-Perception. According to the authors of the study, the points where braids meet can appear to be bolder than the individual lines, and our peripheral vision lacks the resolution to detect this. As a result, our brains interpret these internodes as bright spots and fill in the gaps by drawing a bright line between them.
Our foveal or central vision, on the other hand, is sharp enough to notice that the bisecting points are no brighter than the rest of the image, and so informs our brains that no bright lines pass through the diagram. As a result of the contradicting input acquired by the peripheral and foveal visual systems, the confused brain adds in flickering dazzling lines that appear and then vanish.
When the researchers experimented with numerous variations of their illusion, they discovered that increasing the width and contrast of the lines raised the apparent brightness of the bisecting points, which made the effect more strong. Increasing the number of polygons had a similar effect, as more bisections were created, resulting in more shimmering rays.
The author's remark in their paper that this type of illusion is related to a number of other optical illusions, such as the well-known pincushion grid illusion, which causes viewers to see phantom lines crisscrossing the lattice diagonally. They insist, however, that Scintillating Starburst is sufficiently different from the pincushion grid to be deemed a unique type of illusion.
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