Meanings of Optical Illusion

This article was last modified on: September 24th, 2019

What is Optical Illusion

An Optical Illusion involves images that are perceived by the visual system in one way and interpreted differently in the brain.

While the brain can process some of the attributes of the image or object, there are aspects that are misleading and therefore lead to errors in the perceptual process.

Optical illusion types:

There are three generally recognized types of optical illusions. These are the literal illusions, cognitive illusions and physiological illusions.

Literal Optical Illusion

When the mind receives visual information, it fills in details or gaps that do not actually exist. The eye and brain will choose and focus on specific objects that make part of the image appear one way or another.

Depending on what the brain chooses to focus on, it can perceive two different images in one, this kind of optical illusion is the literal illusion.

The image below is a standard example of a literal optical illusion. The artist drew only one young woman in profile.

But as our mind uses borders to identify objects and people, we see not only the drawn young woman, but traces of an old woman in the same image.

Example of literal optical illusion.
Example of literal optical illusion.