We've seen all manner of optical illusions here at Creative Bloq, but our favourite genre has to be Things That Look That They're Moving But Aren't Even Though They Really, Really Look Like They're Moving. Falling squarely (or rather, circularly) into that category is this pair of circles that we still can't quite get our heads around.
Courtesy of our favourite Twitter-based optical illusion artist jagarikin, this latest illusion features two spinning circles. Throw in a pair of directional arrows, and the circles appear to be sliding in said direction. Except, they aren't. (Like having your mind blown? Check out our favourite optical illusions.)
Indeed, place a pair of inward arrows inside the circles, and they appear to be moving towards each other. Up and down makes them look like they're sliding, yep, up and down. And they can even appear to stretch or shrink, with a set of four arrows pointing either towards or away from each other. Basically, whatever those arrows are doing, the circles appear to follow.
なんと動いてません#ド直球に言いますがフォローしてください pic.twitter.com/qthgo7k2UNApril 21, 2021
"Possibly my favourite optical illusion. The circles don't change position or size. And yet...," one Twitter user comments (opens in new tab), while another adds, "I’m convinced that the circles are actually moving and the denial of this is pure madness." Perhaps speaking for us all, another user exclaims, "STOOOOOP I FEEL 100% MANIPULATED AND I HATE IT."
But while the circles really, really, really look like they're sliding, plenty of users have added grids to prove that they aren't. As soon as reference points are added, those arrows lose all of their sinister and sorcerous power – we can clearly see that the circles are stationary.
For anyone still doubting. pic.twitter.com/QLQVdWPaTJApril 21, 2021
So how does it work? According to ScienceAlert (opens in new tab), this illusion is a variation on the 'Phi phenomenon', which "turns rapid sequences of changes in colour or brightness into something more profound, like a general sense that something has changed position." And in this case, it's not actually the arrows that are doing the directing. There are actually "shifting contrasts in the borders around the colours" of the circles that create the illusion of the circles moving in a single direction.
This is by no means the first mind-boggling/brain-frying/head-spinning illusion we've seen from jagarikin. From falling figures (that aren't actually falling) to rotating cubes (that aren't actually rotating), the artist is responsible for some of the best illusions we've seen in the last few years. (If you're wondering what the worst is, look at these McDonald's kissing burgers at your peril.)