Why We See Optical Illusions
We do not know for sure why we see optical illusions, but there are some popular explanations. Some people think we see illusions because of the physical traits of the eye. Others think it is because of culture. In science, when theories are made to help explain things they are usually believed until new evidence comes up that the theory cannot explain. That may be the case with optical illusions.
Most people now believe that seeing optical illusions has to do with perspective, or the way you look at something. Scientists who are trying to answer the question of why we see optical illusions have discovered that not everyone sees them in the same way. Even if all your friends see the same image, people around the world may not.
Scientists tried illusions out on some people in the African country of Uganda. The Ugandans who lived in the cities and had seen drawings and photographs were fooled by the illusions. However, those Ugandans who lived in the villages away from big cities and hadnít seen drawings or photographs were not fooled at all. This evidence shows scientists that not only do the eye and the brain work together to make us see optical illusions, but past experience plays a part too.
Therefore, the latest theory about why we see optical illusions is that the eye sees them, but your brain uses your past experiences to interpret what the eyes see. To find out more about perception, visit that part of our website.