How the Rotating Snakes optical illusion works


14 Responses to “How the Rotating Snakes optical illusion works”

  1. MrScience says:

    I miss my Science News subscription. Parents got it for me in high school, and it was the coolest thing to get weekly science information in my backwater town of 5000.

  2. mobobo says:

    damn my “short jumpy” eyes but I’ve love visual shenanigans ever since being introduced to the work of Bridget Riley

  3. Marja Erwin says:

    What optical illusion?

    • chenille says:

      The snakes are supposed to appear to turn. For me, it doesn’t happen if I focus right on them, but is unmistakable if I glance back and forth through the surrounding text.

    • Hanglyman says:

       For me, it doesn’t work with my glasses on. If I take them off, it does- a little. I’ve seen this one before, and it seemed more effective then… maybe it’s better on paper than on a screen.

  4. Jonathan Badger says:

    Presumably this is an established optical illusion (although I haven’t heard of it before), but I’m always wary of optical illusions on web pages. How do I know it isn’t an animated GIF?

  5. Touch Sensitive says:

    Professor Akiyoshi Kitaoka is the creator of the featured illusion.

    Browse to his site for some nauseatingly brain churning illusions.

    Those of a nervous disposition or prone to fits should probably hold off…

    *Akiyoshi’s illusion pages*

    • David Pescovitz says:

      Yes, that would be the same Akiyoshi Kitaoka who I mentioned in the post and the same page that I link to.

  6. I always wondered what the red lines were in the image and now I finally learn they are snake tongues. Derp!

  7. loroferoz says:

    My very ignorant guess, before ever reading this explanation would be “Peripheral Vision” and “Eye Movement”. 

    If you actually concentrate on some of the circles in a part of the picture, they stop spinning, and the others farther away appear to start spinning.  In fact, those circles on the borders of your “focus zone” seem to have only the farthest (from your focus) half “spinning”, until you focus on them and then they stop spinning wholly. 

    But it’s just guessing. The work of researchers put in unambiguous terms and corroborated by others, is the closest we get to an objective explanation. 

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