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optical illusions

Joy

Can you figure out what this doodle is?

Once you see it, you’ll never unsee it.

via Facebook

Do you see it?

Facebook user Savannah Root from Missouri stared at the photo above for hours before she finally figured out what it was.

Everyone that sees it either gets it right away or sits there stumped. The picture is so mystifying that after one week, it's been shared over 33,000 times.


For the solution, scroll down past the comments to reveal the hidden picture.

comments, social media, confusion

Is it formidable?

assets.rebelmouse.io

realization, challenge, solution

Amazing!

via Facebook

eureka, misconception, hallucination, image, puzzle

A light bulb moment.

via Facebook

shame, fear, stress

Stressing out.

via Facebook

talent, insect, cowboy

Not an insect.

via Facebook

It's a cowboy with half of his face obscured by a shadow. Facebook user Cristian-Dumitru Popescu created a cool graphic that explains it.

doodle, illusion, brain teaser.

The cowboy face breakdown.

via Facebook

This article originally appeared on 09.23.17

Where is the third dog in this photo?

Optical illusions are wild. The way our brains perceive what our eyes see can be way off base, even when we're sure about what we're seeing.

Plenty of famous optical illusions have been created purposefully, from the Ames window that appears to be moving back and forth when it's actually rotating 360 degrees to the spiral image that makes Van Gogh's "Starry Night" look like it's moving.

But sometimes optical illusions happen by accident. Those ones are even more fun because we know they aren't a result of someone trying to trick our brains. Our brains do the tricking all by themselves.


The popular Massimo account on X shared a photo that appears to be a person and two dogs in the snow. The more you look at it, the more you see just that—two dogs and someone who is presumably their owner.

But there are not two dogs in this picture:

There are three dogs in this picture. Can you see the third?

Full confession time: I didn't see it at first. Not even when someone explained that the "human" is actually a dog. My brain couldn't see anything but a person with two legs, dressed all in black, with a furry hat and some kind of furry stole or jacket. My brain definitely did not see a black poodle, which is what the person actually is.

Are you looking at the photo and trying to see it, totally frustrated?

The big hint is that the poodle is looking toward the camera. The "hat" on the "person" is the poodle's poofy tail, and the "scarf/stole" is the poodle's head.

Once you see it, it fairly clear, but for many of us, our brains did not process it until it was explicitly drawn out.

As one person explained, the black fur hides the contours and shadows, so all our brains take in is the outline, which looks very much like a person facing away from us.

People's reactions to the optical illusion were hilarious.

One person wrote, "10 years later: I still see two dogs and a man."

Another person wrote, "I agree with ChatGPT :)" and shared a screenshot of the infamous AI chatbot describing the photo as having a person in the foreground. Even when asked, "Could the 'person' be another dog?" ChatGPT said it's possible, but not likely. Ha.

One reason we love optical illusions is that they remind us just how very human we are. Unlike a machine that takes in and spits out data, our brains perceive and interpret what our senses bring in—a quality that has helped us through our evolution. But the way our brains piece things together isn't perfect. Even ChatGPT's response is merely a reflection of our human imperfections at perception being mirrored back at us.

Sure is fun to play with how our brains work, though.


This article originally appeared on 1.8.24

Photos combined from Pixabay.

Car door and the beach.

Ancient sage Obi-Wan Kenobi once remarked, "Your eyes can deceive you, don't trust them." Well, he's right, kinda.

Our eyes bring in information and it's our brain's job to decipher the image and determine what we're seeing. But our brains aren't always correct. In fact, sometimes they can be so wrong we wonder if we are accurately interpreting reality at all.

After all, our brain can only label things if it knows that they are. If you lived on a deserted island your whole life and a cow showed up on the beach, you'd have no idea what to label it.


The latest baffling image that's making people across the internet doubt their senses is a picture tweeted out by Twitter user nayem. "If you can see a beach, ocean sky, rocks and stars then you are an artist," the comment reads.

But some people who see it also think it looks like a car door. What do you see?

beach, car door, rusty door

Beach or a rusty door?

via nxyxm / Twitter

If your brain told you the picture is of a lovely evening laying on the beach then you're definitely an optimist. But, according to the person who posted it, the photo is of the bottom of a rusted out car door. Not very romantic, is it?

art, comedy, sense of humor

The tweet has since gone viral, earning over 5,000 likes.

via nxym /Twitter

Here's what Twitter users thought about the illusion.

twitter trolls, twitter responses, twitter fights

Yum.

via Twitter.

This guy must be hungry.

viral images, social media, common questions

A clever call back.

via Twitter.

This guy is having flashbacks to 2015.

sense of humor, learning skills, spacial relationships

Knowing the difference through skills.

via Twitter.

Your perception determines your reality.

artist, imagination, speculation

Drawing skills.

via Twitter.

This guy explains it perfectly.

creative thoughts, community, Twitter chat

Boat on the beach.

via Twitter.

This guy has a great imagination.


This article originally appeared on 8.16.21

The woman behind Scarlett Johansson appears to disappear into thin air.

Optical illusions never fail to fascinate us, whether they're purposeful mind tricks or accidental photos that make something look like something it's not.

Video optical illusions are trickier than images because anyone can edit a video to make something appear to be something it's not. But occasionally a genuine video illusion comes along that forces our brains to stretch beyond what our eyes are perceiving, which is exactly what happened at a red carpet even in 2006.

In the video, Scarlett Johansson is stopped by a reporter and begins chatting about her dress and the highlight of the awards show. As Johansson speaks, people are seen milling about behind her. A woman in a strapless black dress walks behind her and then seems to disappear completely, as the man who was following the woman reappears on the other side of Johansson, but the woman doesn't.

Even the woman's shadow disappears, and slowing down the video doesn't make it any less wild to witness.

Watch:

Johannson, who apparently hadn't seen the video before, explained to Jimmy Fallon in November of 2023 that the woman in the video is actually her mother.

"I've been looking for her for the past 15 years!" she joked.

So what's the deal? Did ScarJo's mom slip into some kind of vortex or portal to an alternate universe or something?

As with every optical illusion, there's an explanation. For this one, the easiest way to understand it is by looking at the scene from a different angle.

Johansson's mom just happened to stop at exactly the right spot to be hidden by her daughter and at just the right depth where it's hard to see that the man following her actually walked right past her.

It seems so clear from this other perspective, but even knowing that's what happened, it's still hard to watch the original video and not feel like it's a magic trick of some sort. That's what makes optical illusions so much fun, though. Our brains create a reality based on what our eyes perceive, not on what is actually happening.