This optical illusion uses sound to trick your eyes — here's how it works

Caltech/ YoutubeHow many flashes do you see in this optical illusion?

Researchers at Caltech have created an optical illusion that’s based on sound, and it’s tricking thousands of people on the internet.

The first step in what they call “the Rabbit Illusion” is to stare at the cross at the top of the screen. While doing that, you’ll hear a few ticking sounds and see a few flashes. But the question is, how many flashes do you see?

Give it a try:

While most people see three flashes when the sound is playing, there are actually only two. The trick is in the sound. Since there were three ticking sounds, your mind creates a third flash to match, which is called an “illusory flash.”

Here’s what you’re probably seeing:

The Rabbit IllusionCaltech/ YoutubeYou probably saw three flashes.

But here’s what’s actually happening:

The Rabbit Illusion realityCaltech/ YoutubeThere were actually only two flashes, but there are three beeps.

Caltech says this is proof that our senses can influence each other.

With this illusion, researchers believed they demonstrated how sound can influence our vision. They call it postdiction, which means “a stimulus that occurs later can retroactively affect our perceptions of an earlier event.”

In this case, the stimulus was the ticking sounds.


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