Researchers Discover New Optical Illusion Called ‘Curvature Blindness’

Curvature Blindness Optical Illusion

Japanese researcher and psychologist Kohske Takahashi of Chukyo University has recently discovered a new, mind-boggling type of optical illusion. Published in SAGE’s open-access i-Perception journal, the new discovery was dubbed the Curvature Blindness Illusion, and describes how a wavy line can be perceived as a zigzag line. In the image above, we see pairs of wavy lines and pairs of zigzag lines against a gray background. Physically, however, all the lines are actually wavy, with an identical shape—there are no zigzags. Only on the white and black backgrounds can we see the true shape of each line.

Against the gray background, lines where each crest is dark gray and the following trough is lighter look like sine waves, composed of “gentle curves;” whereas, lines that are colored dark/light either side of each crest look like triangle waves, composed of “obtuse corners.”

Takahashi proposes that this could be because our brains default to seeing corners over curves. “We propose that the underlying mechanisms for the gentle curve perception and those of obtuse corner perception are competing with each other in an imbalanced way,” he explains,“and the percepts of corner might be dominant in the visual system.”

This newly discovered optical illusion tricks the eye into seeing lines that change from curves to zigzags, even though they are actually all wavy.

Curvature Blindness Illusion

i-Perception Journal: Website
h/t: [digg, PMC]

All images via i-Perception Journal.

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.
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