Superb visual illusions

I just came across an interesting website – Illusion of the Year Contest. They have a competition for best visual illusion of the year and some of the entries are great.

I’ve included some of my favorites below.

This one is very interesting. When you zoom out and the faces are smaller they appear to be looking at eachother. Zoom in and they suddently appear to be looking at you.

It seems like our brains use different heuristics to figure out where a person is looking. When no other information is available the brain uses darker patch in an eye to indicate where the iris is and hence where the person is looking.

When the images are closer and more information becomes available then the border of the iris itself dominates. Awesome illusion.

I really like this one. The two images are actually of exactly the same androgynous face. The only difference is the contrast. Higher contrast seems feminine while lower contrast seems masculine. I don’t really know why that would be the case – any ideas?

It does help to explain why woman wear contract increasing mascara, eye-liner, blush and lipstick.

Facial contrast suggests sex - visual illusion

Finally, this one is also pretty cool. The dots seem to be bouncing off of eachother. In fact the inner dot traces a square and the outer dot traces a circle. Maybe our brains have a hueristic to infer a relationship between them.