How this trippy illusion will make you see an ‘expanding black hole’

This “expanding hole” illusion may trick your brain into thinking you are walking into a cave or tunnel. (Image credit: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience)

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A brand new optical illusion tricks the majority of people into thinking that a dark “black hole” region at the center of a stationary image is rapidly expanding, as if the observer were moving toward it. Researchers now suspect that the image literally tricks the brain into thinking that the observer is moving into a darkened space, like a cave or tunnel.

The illusion consists of a large black ellipse surrounded by a dark halo on a white background filled with smaller black ellipses. Typically, as a person stars at the image, the dark elliptical region will appear to expand outward for a couple of seconds, which is why the design has been nicknamed the “expanding hole.”

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