Even rats are amazed by this baffling optical illusion

A rat looks at an optical illusion in surprise
(Image credit: Oxford University Press / Joseph Foley)

Love a good optical illusion? So do we – and so do rats, it turns out. The Asahi illusion is a particularly baffling one that tricks our perception of light. Looking a little like a flower, it features petal-like shapes around a white centre. The petals are black on the outer edges but transition to yellow as they taper, creating an effect which makes the white centre look brighter than it is.

Through a mechanism that isn't yet fully understood, the optical illusion causes our pupils to constrict in reaction to the perceived light. Scientists had thought this reaction was exclusive to humans, but no; it turns out that rats react in the same way, which means scientists may be able to study the response (now, I'm wondering how rats would react to all of our favourite optical illusions).

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Joe Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news, features and buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment and software for creatives, from video editing programs to monitors and accessories. A veteran news writer and photographer, he now works as a project manager at the London and Buenos Aires-based design, production and branding agency Hermana Creatives. There he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing visual content and design assets for the hospitality sector. He also dances Argentine tango.