The best optical illusion this year shows how easy it is to miss what’s right in front of you..
The Neural Correlate Society, a non-profit that promotes “new discoveries related to the neural correlates of sensory and cognitive experience,” annually doles out awards to the best optical illusions created over the last year. These illusions are nothing like Tony Wonder popping out of a dumbwaiter because someone said, “Wonder.” These illusions are created by scientists with the goal of pushing the brain’s ability to process “perceptual experiences that do not match the physical reality.”
In non-sciencey terms, these illusions will make you mumble a confused “whoa.” The best illusions of 2016 were mind-boggling and weird. These aren’t just cinematic tricks or weird accidental illusions like that girl who had no legs in a photo. These are designed to exhibit specific ways our perception is manipulated. “How we see the outside world–our perception–is generated indirectly by brain mechanisms,” the organization wrote last year, “and so all perception is illusory to some extent. The study of illusions is critical to how we understand sensory perception, and many ophthalmic and neurological diseases.”
This year, the society has selected the top-10 finalists and is opening up the final voting to the public. Anyone can cast a vote for their favorite optical illusion, and the winner will take home a little money for their efforts.