These 10 Spellbinding Optical Illusions Are Considered the Best of 2019

For fifteen years, the Neural Correlate Society and Museum of the Mind have encouraged artists and scientists to submit their work to the Best Illusion of the Year contest. Each participant asked to create a short video of their illusion. This celebration of ingenuity and creativity showcases talent from around the world. This year's competitive field was narrowed from ten finalists to the grand prize winner, who took home $3,000.

Game developer Frank Force won first place for his hypnotic Dual Axis Illusion. As viewers watch a shape spin around, they're asked to figure out if it's rotating on a vertical or horizontal axis. Luckily there are some subtle visual cues in the video to help make a decision. Second place winner Haruaki Fukuda of the University of Tokyo plays with color perceptions and movement in Change the Color. In this optical illusion, colored dots are in movement and depending on how the viewer perceives that movement, the color of the dots change.

Showing just how diverse optical illusions can be, the top three winners are rounded out by The Rotating Circles of Illusion. Created by Ryan E.B. Mruczek and Gideon Paul Caplovitz from the College of the Holy Cross and the University of Nevada Reno, it shows how a static central circle can appear to move differently depending on the path of circles that surround it.

If you love optical illusions but are often stumped by the science behind them, you'll be pleased to know that each video also includes an explanation that unveils their inner workings. And, just to add to the feast of illusions, all ten finalists are available online.

These optical illusions won the Best Illusion of the Year contest.

Can't get enough? Check out the rest of the spellbinding finalists.

Best Illusion of the Year: Website | Facebook | YouTube

My Modern Met granted permission to feature media by Neural Correlate Society.

Related Articles:

Brilliant Optical Illusion Makes People See Color When They Look at B&W Photos

You Need to Shake Your Head to See the Hidden Animal in This Optical Illusion

Optical Illusion Goes Viral Because People Can’t Believe What They’re Looking At

Every Color Will Disappear in This Mind-Bending Optical Illusion If You Stare Long Enough

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content