No, it’s not your brain playing tricks on you. Your brain physically will not allow you to beat this optical illusion.
Here is what the Twitter poster has to say:
There are twelve black dots at the intersections in this image. Your brain won’t let you see them all at once. pic.twitter.com/ig6P980LOT
— Will Kerslake (@wkerslake) September 11, 2016
Well that sounds like a challenge to me, so lets dig a little deeper and find out for ourselves. There is a total of 12 black dots in this illusion, at the intersections between the grey linesl. Now, I can only see 3-4 of them, and that is with straining and squinting (now my eyes hurt.. thanks). I’d bet that you can’t see all twelve either!
The science behind the illusion:
In the back of our eyes are a whole bunch cells, behaving like a sensor of sorts, that are excited by stimuli. They interpret what you are looking at and seeing. However, there is a phenomenon called Lateral Inhibition that makes this photo an illusion. Thanks to this phenomenon, cells actually hush their noisy neighbors from all getting excited at once (admit it – we’ve all called the cops on our noisy neighbors before). Due to this, when there is too much excitement for your little cells, and they all want to begin jumping around sending signals for your brain to interpret, only a few actually do.
Our brain then attempts to fill in the gaps of information with whatever it feels is fitting or feels would make sense. Because the majority of the image is white triangles with grayish lines, it simply fills in the gaps with grey lines and white boxes and leaves out the little black dots.
When normal situations occur, those few little sensors are sufficient to paint the bigger picture. However, minute details of an over-stimulating picture tend to throw our brains for a loop.
Author - David Mann Credit for Photo and Tweet: pic.twitter.com/ig6P980LOT— Will Kerslake (@wkerslake) September 11, 2016 Title Photo Credit: Ars Electronica Human brain illustrated with millions of small nerves via photopin (license)