Came across the best movement illusion I have ever seen the other day…..

What do you think?  Finding it difficult to believe that it is static?

Update: How odd – some people don’t see it moving at all, and others are blown away by it (including putting it into photoshop to check that it is indeed static!).  Anyone know why there should be such a big difference between people?

180 comments

    1. what differentiates those who see the illusion from those who don’t see the illusion. I for one see it as static. I have excellent eye sight, I’m a righty and I like long walks on the beach.

    1. Barcs …can’t see the one here but the one you gave a link to I can see very well…….very cool ……really love that one! looks like waves rippling!

  1. This doesn’t move for me at all. Is there something wrong with me? Am I dying? Is this an ingenious plan to get people to stare at an image for a very long time for no reason? So many question. So few answers.

  2. you really should warn us about these images – no brain has gone into a spin and now I need a lie down. I think staring at an Escher puzzle should reverse the effects.

  3. Should have read:

    you really should warn us about these images – MY brain has gone into a spin and now I need a lie down. I think staring at an Escher puzzle should reverse the effects.

  4. Nope. Can’t see any movement. I tried staring at various fixed spots, then tried shifting my gaze around. Then repeated farther away from the screen. Nout.

  5. With my head and eyes as still as I can make them – no movement.
    Slight movement of my head or eyes and the inner and outer squares move in opposite directions.
    Wierd.

  6. i think the way these images work is to take advantage of imperfections in your eyes. so if you dont see any movement, that would mean your eyes are very good.
    can anyone confirm this?

    1. nope my vision sucks and even with my glasses on still no movement on this one but the one that Barcs posted link to I can see real well with and without my glasses.

  7. It was so static for me that I refreshed the page a couple of times thinking that the pic somehow hadn’t loaded properly.

    After staring at it from quite far away for a time I began to see a slight movement of the inner square, not so much shaking as a gentle floating.

    I wonder if my difficulty has anything to do with my contact lenses / glasses – I know they made looking at those 3D pics so popular in the 1980s quite difficult.

  8. I don’t see any movement at all with eyes in focus, eyes out of focus, eyes moving or head moving. If I blink my eyes I get a vague suggestion of a ripple aligned north west/south east in the inner square and aligned north east/south west in the outer square.

  9. It didn’t move for me initially, then the discs inside the centre square twisted around, then no movement again. Just static. Most of the Kitaoka illusions generate a stronger sensation of movement for me.

  10. It was intially static for me until I gazed into the centre square and saw movement then.

    Mind you, I’m spoiled, as I have the cover of Animal Collective’s “Merriweather Post Pavillion” to compare with:

  11. I can see the appearance of movement only very slightly. However, if I scroll my browser window up and down, the centre square appears to jiggle from side to side quite significantly.

  12. I have the same as Carl — a little bit of jiggling of the central square when I move my eyes / scrollbar, nothing else.

    As RW says, interesting that so many of us don’t get it.

  13. This is one of those that you have to stare at for a while to get the effect. Some illusions are instantaneously effective, others appear to be cumulative.

  14. I can see it moving quite clearly on my laptop screen, but when I looked at it with my phone this morning it wasn’t as pronounced.

    Perhaps a technology plays a part in making people see it differently?

    1. I got my boyfriend to look at it on the same monitor. He thought it was some sort of trick question when I asked him if he could see any movement as to him it obviously moved. Still can’t see it myself.

  15. So our eyes are trying to align the global lines formed by the local lines in each unit? As they’re going in opposite directions between the inner and outer squares, movement results. Maybe? 🙂

    I wonder if the difference among people who see the illusion and not is due to individual differences in the propensity to use local or global levels of attention.

  16. I’m with Carl: there’s not much movement unless I scroll the screen, and then the inner square jiggles from side to side. Just looking at it while not scrolling, the individual squiggles seem squirmy, but that’s it. Perhaps it depends on the size at which it is viewed? I’m on my iPhone.

  17. Only moves very briefly for me when I scroll the page with the illusion up and down. I then notice the vibration for about a split-second, before it returns to being a still image. I noticed however that when I focus on the edge of the outer square, I experience very minor movement, but as soon as I look towards the center square, the effect vanishes.
    Oddly enough, I get the movement effect of the inner square strongest while moving away and towards my screen.

  18. No movement at first. Then I noticed the inner square moved – SLIGHTLY. Absolutely nothing like as good as many, many other illusions I’ve seen. How odd that people differ on this one. We need to find out why: this is fascinating!

  19. Oh hold on… that’s VERY odd. The more I look at it, the more I notice the effect. It hasn’t reached “strongly noticeable” yet though. I wonder how big a part expectation plays in this.

  20. I’m also a minimal movementist! After a while the centre section moves slightly – as if levitating, but this is not a powerful movement.

    If it helps- I’m using my iPhone and wearing glasses…

  21. Nope, nothing for me. I’m on my iPhone so don’t know if size makes a difference. I’ll try it in laptop later but at the moment there’s not a flicker.

  22. I’m a mover … but my weaker left eye gives more movement than my right.
    (So it can’t be down to just one eye or stereoscopic vision)

  23. I don’t see it moving at all. I had crossed eyes as a child and had two different operations on the muscles of my eyes, though. Sometimes I don’t see some of those illusions that require you to stare at them to get a ‘result’.

    1. Now, THIS is interesting! One thing that occurred to me is that this might be moving as a result of saccades, which could be very relevant to your muscular operations…

    1. Sorry, not convinced. I am very slightly long-sighted, but I see other illusions move FAR more than this one.

  24. I’m normally a total sucker for the Prof’s illusions and get drawn in every time, but this one doesn’t work at all for me sadly.

  25. They don’t move for me. I do have a worse vision in one eye than the other though. For those that can see it moving, does it stop if you shut one eye? Maybe it depends on having two eyes that have the same quality vision – I can’t see magic eye pictures for that reason.

  26. I definitely see the movement, although it is not making me doubt that the image is static… 😉

    Perhaps the difference is not in the people, but in how they are viewing it. Perhaps it has something to do with CRT vs flat panel? LCD vs LED? Refresh rate? Interlaced vs progressive scan? Something like that?

  27. I see it moving only very slightly. When I first looked at it on my iphone it didn’t move at all. I’m now looking at it on a decently sized and resolutioned monitor and it feels like it’s trying to move, but I don’t see any active shaking, just a slight twitch here and there. Also, if I take off my glasses and get close enough that other stuff on the screen isn’t blurry (I’m nearsighted) it goes back to not moving at all.

  28. I don’t see it move.

    I have normal vision in both eyes (well, with contact lenses…), am viewing it on a large computer screen, tried moving closer/further away, moving my head, looking at it from an angle… no mvement

  29. If it’s something to do with good or bad eyesight (which I don’t) then it’s the good sighted people who see the illusion because my eyes are almost perfect and the illusion was immediately visible on my Blackberry. Think I might test out my blog readers with this one too

  30. Weirdly I get no movement at all. *Unless* I close one eye, then the effect is quite pronounced.

    I am short sighted and wear glasses. It doesn’t appear to make any difference whether or not I’m wearing them for this.

  31. I also don’t see it move. At first I thought it might be something about my computer monitor, but others have said that it was static and then later looked like it was moving.

    I’ve tried unfocusing my eyes (like the Magic Eye pictures), I’ve tried looking away and looking back, looking out of the corner of my eye, focusing on different places, and even looking at it on a different monitor, and I still don’t see it move.

  32. I see it moving if I look at it through only my left eye. If I look through my right eye or with both eyes it doesn’t move.

  33. The inner square doesn’t move for me. The sides of the outer square move if I focus on one side. If I look at the image as a whole, nothing happens. It seems to me that my brain is trying to make something of the image and is adjusting its view, sort of like messing the the aspect ratio of a TV.

  34. I’m left handed and have more or less monocular vision and can’t see it move at all.. maybe one of these factors could be the reason (left handedness as the hand you use predominantly is dependant on which is your leading eye)

  35. Nothing is moving for me. I guess we’ll just have to go our separate ways.

    “Anyone know why there should be such a big difference between people?”
    This is a leading question, isn’t it? Who’s the Psychology professor around here anyway?

  36. I see it moving but I start to get a little headache if I look at it for very long.

    I think it has anything to do with being right brain or left brain dominant.

  37. Personal experiments:

    No movement when looking at the main post page wearing my glasses (both for vision correction and astigmatism).
    Slight wiggling when I take my glasses off.
    Slightly more when I close one eye (doesn’t matter which one).
    When I click on the image and get it on a blank screen I get more movement, even with my glasses on, still more with my glasses off, and even more with either eye closed.

    And in all cases the most movement I see is immediately before and after blinking.

  38. Count me as those who aren’t really seeing the illusion. It’s like I *want* to see it, and can make it jiggle a small bit if I move my head a lot. It’s mainly rotation that brings out some small shifting about.

    The most I can do to get something close to what I guess people are seeing is if I force my eyes wide open, where it jitters pretty much along with the stress on my eye. Perhaps people who see movement all the time are leading stressful lives and/or suffering from eye strain. I hypothesize that the effect will be more pronounced later in the day.

    1. once again i agree with IS… if I open my eyes wider i see a slight giggle… perhaps those who see the pronounced movement have high blood pressure or that thyroid problem that makes their eyes bulge a bit and the giggling is caused by their pulse.

  39. Very little movement here. At first I thought it may relate to my color blindness, but a look at the levels in Photoshop show that the image is 100% shades of gray, so the differences we’re seeing must related to differences in contrast sensitivity. The computer display must certainly play a part, though manually adjusting contrast levels had no effect. Contrast sensitivity can decline with age, though it may also be able to improve, per http://bit.ly/d4YgYj.

  40. On my phone, there’s no movement. On my desktop machine, there’s movement whenever I shift my gaze or move my head. Picking up the monitor and holding it steady minimizes the effect, as does scaling the image down or stepping back from the monitor. So, is appears to be affected by field of view and your general jitteriness.

  41. Nope, I’m not getting any movement.

    It can’t be dependant on a certain type of monitor. My brother, looking at the same image at the same time on the same laptop, says he can clearly see it moving. The only difference between us is age (he’s 10, I’m 19) and eyesight (I’m short-sighted, he’s not).

  42. Weird. It looks totally static to me, and I can’t imagine how it would move. I almost thought it was a joke until I scrolled down to your update.

  43. I see it moving a lot! That’s only if I look at it straight on, if I turn my laptop to an angle there’s no movement at all…

  44. Most odd. At first I couldn’t see it move at all. After a lot of staring, the middle square looked like it was “floating”, like Grania said. Small movements.

    If I close one eye- either one- the effect is more pronounced.

    Female, shortsighted, and it works with glasses on or off.

  45. i read somewhere it was to do with how calm you were, if you are relaxed it hardly moves (read this about the op ill. you use for twitter background)

  46. I couldn’t see any movement, and my sons (10 and 14 years old) couldn’t see any, either. I’ll try it again later when I’m tired and stressed.

  47. Interesting, the illusion I get is one of depth! The outer square appears closer and more in focus than the inner square.

    A few experiments with scrolling using the scroll bars or the mouse wheel and I can get the movement that other people are experiencing, that suggests to me that the illusion relies on how the eye moves all over the place to build up an image for the brain, maybe those of us not seeing the effect are really good at keeping our eyes still?

  48. Definitely moving, sort of vibrating/wobbling movement. Persists even when I put a straight edge along the bottom of the inner square – even the bottom line STILL looks like it’s moving!

  49. i wear glasses for reading and dont see any movement but if i jiggle my head about it shakes like crazy and looks very 3-D . almost like those magic eye pics.

  50. I see a fair amount of movement.

    I think illusions like this take advantage of the fact that your eyes are constantly moving very slightly (we can only see things that move so for static things out eyes need to move to create motion).

    This is may be why some people only see it when they move their head?

    Some ideas why some people can’t see it and others can:
    Monitor color not set right
    LCD vs CRT
    Color blindness
    How relaxed you are (coffee etc)

    Or I could just be making stuff up, who knows.

  51. It only works for me if I close one eye! It’s pretty weird.

    Has this happened to any other person? The first time I saw it it looked perfectly static… But if I close one eye the square appears to be moving.

    1. I’m going to guess closing one eye creates the same kind of muscle tension that keeping them wide open does, leading to a more pronounced effect. I definitely see the image as more “unstuck” if I *close* one as as opposed to when I *cover* one eye.

    2. Cool, that helped! I was one of those for whom there was no movement at all. Closing or covering one eye didn’t make it moving either. But closing one eye and gently pressing on it lead to some jiggling motion (seen with the open eye, of course). After opening the closed-and-pressed eye, I could still see the jiggling for a while (using both eyes) until it went static again.

      The illusion was cool, but now my eye hurts. Seems the pressing wasn’t gentle enough…

    3. I see some slight movement with one eye closed, none with both eyes open. However, the dots keep changing colour. Does this happen for anyone else, or am I just weird?

  52. I saw no movement at all. But when I put on my reading glasses… viola!
    Now I can see it. My eye sight isn’t horrible… just age induced presbyopia.

  53. Well, that’s ONE way to see how much your eyes actually jitter around without you realizing it. Saccade is already freaky enough without being confronted with it.

  54. I have to intentionally unfocus to see any motion at all.
    And then it moves the same way my desk lamp moves when I do that.
    😛

  55. A lot depends on distance from the screen. I see the inner square swimming NE across the wider ocean. Reminds me of my first experience of visual dizziness, aged about 3, when I could ‘see’ movement but could also see evidence that nothing was moving. Is it relevant that I’ve never suffered from car, sea or air sickness, and am often surrounded by vomiting passengers?

  56. I think it moves due to the fact that my eyes keep trying to adjust to sharpen the image, which never hapens, because it is blurry. But everytime i look at a different part of the image it seems to move. And because of my eyes changeing the lense angle or whatever in my eye, everything seems to move (with exception of my point of focus).

    Perhaps due to being tired, or not looking all over the image as frantically as I do, the eyes don’t adjust as much and thus the image is not moving to some…
    Does that make sense?

  57. I don’t see any motion with both eyes open. I am nearsighted in one eye, and that eye alone doesn’t see motion either. When I look at it with my 20/20 vision eye, there is something of a 3-D effect with the center square seeming to jitter a tiny bit, but nothing pronounced.

  58. It’s static for me, however, when I scroll the page, the vertical movement of the whole image makes the illusion work.

    Which leads me to ask could the reason that some see the effect, and others don’t have something to do with natural eye movement? i.e. If your eyes naturally flicker as you look at it the effect happens, but if your eyes are still, it doesn’t?

    It does seem to make a difference if I force myself to flick my focus at different parts of the image.

    Thoughts?

  59. It’s not the eyes that’s tricking y’all up, it’s how our brain perceives motion. It’s tricking cells in the back of your brain or maybe the LGN.

    If you want to try getting the effect easier, try making the image bigger.

  60. I see it as static but the only explanation i can get for this illusion is that for some people the brain seems to adjust the shades of grey in order to create the illusion. This might have something to do with the relationship of light and brain as most illusions are based on the same concept.

    I think that the reason why many people don’t see the illusion might! have to do with the distance their eyes are from the screen.

  61. Not seeing movement, except for one brief moment the second time I looked at it. So I know what others are apparently seeing, but most of the time I just don’t see it, even after trying all the options suggested above regarding movement, blinking, distance, etc.

    I also don’t see the 3D in 3D movies most of the time, even with the special glasses. But I have normal depth perception. Wonder if there’s a connection?

    1. Found another way that makes the movement noticeable. This is focusing on that corridor that doesn’t have any dots and scroll the page up and down. Impressive now that I’ve seen the illusion I can’t get it back to static.

  62. All anyone needs to do is put their cursor over the image if the browser’s bottom bar indicated the link. Mine shows the image is a jpg, so it must be static, as only a gif can animate.

  63. Certainly looks like it’s not static. Cool thing. But, really, makes one’s head ache after trying to convince myself that it’s not moving by closing one eye or doing something else. It only looks that it doesn’t move when I look at it on the side, peripheral vision.

  64. Initially it appeared static for me. Then if I move my head quickly the pic appears tp move. Finally with a fine screen (like a sieve) in front of it, moving the screen also causes it to appear as if it is moving.

  65. I also didn’t see any movement. I think it has to do with the image being really small compared to my large screen. When I enlarged the image to fill as much of my screen as possible, I could then see the movement. At least what I see is the center square bouncing around in the larger square. This also goes along with a previous comment that the illusion was stronger when viewed on a phone than viewed on a computer screen.

  66. I have always been a big fan of those ones you look at and if you un-focus just right, a 3-d image will appear. This one, though, is as amazing, but different. I was “blown away” by the instant state of movement from the moment my eyes landed on it. And, with trying to change the focus, I could make it stop moving…but it took me concentrating on it pretty hard. I had to make a big effort to stop it from moving. Wow, cool.

  67. Maybe it’s the third glass of wine, or maybe it’s the fact that I’m longsighted and not wearing my reading glasses – but that image is perfectly static.

    I have seen plenty of other static images that do look as if they are moving, though.

  68. The idea behind these kind of visual illusions is that your eyes move all the time, moving the focus point all around… just get drunk and you’ll see it move all the time; or relax your eyes (which happens involuntarily when intoxicated). Don’t stare. Just look at it, and if there’s no slight movement in the picture, don’t stress it. I’ve seen much better ones done with complementary colours, but they won’t work unless done in yellow and blue, which are universally recognized. A lot of people don’t recognize green from red. I never realized this until my brother said the overcast at night is green to him… I said red. Turns out he’s colour blind, so it’s green to him.

  69. “Colour blind” doesn’t mean you can’t distinguish any colours, it means the receptor cells in your eyes that distinguish between red and green are not working well. Yellow and blue and all that are still very real colours. It’s not really important, but for example colour technician in TV or movies won’t be your first line of work. The guy who chose pink as the colour for Star Trek The Animated Series villains Kzinti was colour blind, so he though they were wearing green uniforms… pink, green, the same.

  70. I can’t see it move at all. Could it be because I’m a cyclope? Can’t see out of my right eye.
    Could it be the way I look at images? I read some study that people in art, design and photography scan their eyes across the entire image rapidly. Design people raise your hands if you can’t see it!

  71. For those who see motion, take off your glasses and look at it. If it’s not in focus the effect disappears. However, if you get close enough to the monitor (presuming nearsightedness) you will still notice the illusion, although not as much.

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