A bizarre and maddening optical illusion recently went viral on Twitter and has left people (ourselves included) booking appointments with their optometrists. Twitter user Will Kerslake first shared the illusion on Sept. 11. The picture features a repeated gray pattern and 12 black dots strategically placed throughout the grid. If you look at the design, however, it's practically impossible to see all of the dots at once, as your eyes will only pick up a few at a time. Pretty frustrating, right? Try it for yourself below.
There are twelve black dots at the intersections in this image. Your brain won’t let you see them all at once. pic.twitter.com/ig6P980LOT— 𝕎𝕚𝕝𝕝 𝕂𝕖𝕣𝕤𝕝𝕒𝕜𝕖 (@wkerslake) September 11, 2016
The illusion is referred to as Ninio's extinction illusion, named after French scientist Jacques Ninio. This is how it works: the eye is stimulated by a few of the dots in clusters at a time and effectively ignores the rest. So if your eye is focusing on the top right corner, you'll see the dots and the rest of the image will appear to be homogeneous, like an uninterrupted continuation of the gray lines.
Naturally, the internet is freaking out. Look ahead for some choice reactions.
@GWillowWilson I can see two and I SWEAR I can see the others running away from me.— Kate 📚 (@nytelibrarian) September 11, 2016
@wkerslake This is so cool. I had to make the pic bigger to see all 12...I could only see 4 at first but still not all at once! 😱😱😱😱
— WildBillWill™ (@JacksGapsRaps) September 12, 2016
— Freddy (@fredfalcone) September 11, 2016