35 Insane Optical Illusions That Will Make You Question Your Sanity

Our brains have developed incredible tactics and coping mechanisms to help us make sense of the complex world around us. But some parts of our highly adaptive minds aren’t perfect and can be exposed through carefully crafted illusions.

These squares are actually the same exact color. Hold your finger over the boundary between the two shapes and see them change.

The Cornsweet illusion exploits the brain’s lateral inhibition, which creates more contrast between the two objects when they have different colored edges.

Cross your eyes and you should be able to see a familiar face.


Stare at this lady’s nose for 10 seconds, then blink rapidly while looking at a light surface. Her face will appear in full color.


These cars look like they’re different sizes…

AD-Insane-Optical-Illusions-That-Will-Make-You-Question-Your-Sanity-04Source: neatorama.com

but in reality they’re all the same.

The Ponzo illusion works because our brain judges an object’s size based its perceived distance. The 3rd car seems further away, so it looks much bigger.

These dots seem to change color and orbit the center. But focus your eyes on a single dot – there’s no rotating or color change at all.

AD-Insane-Optical-Illusions-That-Will-Make-You-Question-Your-Sanity-06Source: reddit.com

Similarly, stare at the cross in the center and watch the blank spot.


This park in Paris looks like it has a giant 3D globe…

But it’s actually completely flat.


Which orange circle looks bigger?


All the dots on this image are white, but some appear black.


No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to look directly at the black dots that appear in the circles. Why this illusion works is still a mystery.

By manipulating the human brain and eyes, Brusspup is able to create amazing animations with nothing but a black card.

AD-Insane-Optical-Illusions-That-Will-Make-You-Question-Your-Sanity-22Source: Brusspup

The dinosaurs’ eyes follow you wherever you go…

AD-Insane-Optical-Illusions-That-Will-Make-You-Question-Your-Sanity-23Source: Brusspup

The “hollow face illusion” works because our brains perceive objects differently when we recognize them as faces. Although the right eye of the dinosaurs get farther as you move, you brain believes the distance is closer than it really is.

Akiyoshi Kitaoka uses geometrical shapes, brightness and color to create motion illusions. These images are not animated, but the human brain makes them appear so.

Using similar techniques, Randolph is able to create similar, more psychedelic illusions.

AD-Insane-Optical-Illusions-That-Will-Make-You-Question-Your-Sanity-25Source: flickr.com

By layering multiple images on top of each other, photographers are able to create amazing two faced portraits.


Which way is this train moving? Look long enough or blink and your brain will change the direction.

AD-Insane-Optical-Illusions-That-Will-Make-You-Question-Your-Sanity-28Source: Robbie Khan

This is part of the ‘wagon-wheel effect. Closing your eyes for a second then opening them or looking in the direction you want the train to travel, should allow you to switch directions on command. The same goes for this wheel…

Is the middle dancer spinning clockwise or counterclockwise? The answer is both.


By staring at either the left or right dancer, you can change the direction the middle dancer spins.

Using clever design, artists like Ibride are able to create 3D art that look impossible.

AD-Insane-Optical-Illusions-That-Will-Make-You-Question-Your-Sanity-30Source: Brusspup


AD-Insane-Optical-Illusions-That-Will-Make-You-Question-Your-Sanity-32Source: michaelbach.de

Hard to believe but the yellow dots never actually disappear. Still images are quick to fall from our awareness, especially when they’re surrounded by constantly changing imagery.

This looks like a face mask, but look closer…

AD-Insane-Optical-Illusions-That-Will-Make-You-Question-Your-Sanity-33It’s actually an image of two people kissing – not a single person’s face.

At first, they look like 3 attractive women…

But flip the image upside down, and you’ll see a very different picture.


There are specific parts of your brain dedicated to face perception. But, we rarely encounter upside-down faces, so, when we do, it’s very difficult to spot any distortion.

The photograph of the Leaning Tower of Pisa on the right appears to lean more to the right. In reality, they’re identical photographs and the towers are parallel.

AD-Insane-Optical-Illusions-That-Will-Make-You-Question-Your-Sanity-36Source: dailymail.co.uk

If two towers are parallel, then from a ground perspective they’d eventually converge into one another. So, when your eyes and brain see two towers that are parallel, they assume that they must be moving apart as they rise into the air and create the resulting illusion.

These horizontal lines appear to be sloping, but look long enough, and you’ll see that they’re parallel to one another.

AD-Insane-Optical-Illusions-That-Will-Make-You-Question-Your-Sanity-37Source: dailymail.co.uk

Initially, it’s difficult to see the grey line between white and black tiles, meaning that the brain fills in the grey as either black or white, creating the illusion that the lines are sloped.

These overlapping circles are actually perfectly round and don’t touch at all – can you see past the illusion?


The water in Flathead Lake is so clear that it appears very shallow. Can you believe it’s actually 370 feet deep?


This is a simple illusion, but very cool nonetheless.


This 3D painted room seems to contain a massive drop. Only the brave dare walk on it.


Cover the sides of the hallway with your hands and the animation speeds down, cover the middle and the animation speeds up.

In this list, you had the luxury of knowing the images and gifs are actually illusions. But can you imagine how many ways your brain is deceiving you every day without your knowledge? In fact, its likely that everything you’ve ever experienced is heavily distorted so you can process and understand what you perceive. Thanks for reading, and please pass this on to others!

Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to our top stories.

Share your Thoughts

Author: Me

Architecture & Design was started by an Afghan - Canadian entrepreneur, he believes that wellbeing is affected by the spaces we spend our time in and that their design is an important notion to consider with regards to our personal comfort and happiness – whether we are at home, at work or at play.

Share This Post On

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This