How this trippy illusion will make you see an “expanding black hole”

This “expanding hole” illusion can trick your brain into thinking you’re entering a cave or tunnel. (Image credit: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience)

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A brand new optical illusion tricks most people into believing that a dark “black hole” region in the center of a stationary image is rapidly expanding, as if the observer is heading towards it. Researchers now suspect that the image literally tricks the brain into thinking the viewer is moving through a dark space, such as 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, when a person looks at the image, the dark elliptical region appears to expand outward for a few seconds, which is why the design has been dubbed the “expanding hole”.

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