how our eyes see

Do You Believe What You See, Or Is Your Mind Playing A Trick On You?

A look into how our mind works when seeing an optical illusion.


Images may be very tricky to the eye. Several processes are used while transmitting images between the brain and the eye. The brain takes shortcuts to help simplify what is seen by the eyes. These shortcuts concentrate on the important details, but these details are frequently exaggerated or oversimplified to what the eye is actually seeing. Eyes send images or messages back to the brain and in milliseconds, and the brain interprets the "data". An optical illusion is a misrepresentation of real scenery; an interpretation of what is being observed. Children are famous for experiencing optical illusions. An illusion is not a result of psychosis, meaning it occurs due to an external source of stimulation.

Hallucinations, a symptom of psychosis, are caused by internal stimulation due to an imbalance of hormone flow in the brain. A common example of illusions is when a child sees a shadow, but the shadow "looks" to be something other than what it really is. The eyes must send visual data to the brain and receive the images back instantly. The process of sending data can be misconstrued by the immediacy of stimulation. Optical illusions contain complex detail and color that often makes it difficult for the eye to perceive what is going on.

There are many examples of optical illusions. Commonly found on social media are pictures where if a person looks at the picture one way they will see an old woman; however, if the person changes the way they "look" at the picture they will, in turn, see a young woman. Some pictures are of geographic images near water and if a person stares at the picture long enough, the picture appears that if it was turned upside down the image could be a reflection in the water either way. There are also images of geometric shapes that seem to change shading if a person looks at the picture from different perspectives.

Optical illusions occur because when a picture or an image is looked at, what is really being seen is light bouncing off of the image and entering the eye. The eye converts the image into electrical impulses that then get interpreted by the brain. This all occurs within a tenth of a second! Within the split second while the brain transmits information back to the eye, Mark Changizi, a neurobiologist, stated that "the brain may make predictions about your surroundings in order to perceive the present." By this, he means your mind often looks at an image and quickly without examining this image, it establishes what the image is. Your mind isn't always correct when it makes these declarations about the image thus it is an illusion. During the image conversion, images can be distorted due to their complexity. The brain works quick to transmit information, yet it's still slightly behind.

To understand optical illusions people really need to understand the human eye and how it works. The eye takes in a picture and then an image is formed on the retina or the third and innermost coat of the eye that is very light sensitive. The sensitivity can easily be fooled by illusions. The visual cortex is responsible for processing the information seen by the eye. This sensory stimulation generates another process. A process called "top-down" sends information down to the visual cortex from higher cortical regions. This generates a visual experience that is created in the mind. Top-down processing fills gaps in the visual field by using previous experiences and understanding of what images should look like. The eye knows how certain images should be. The eye tries to focus and see images the way the mind thinks the image should be. This is where optical illusions really mess with the eye. Researchers have studied what is really happening when viewing an illusion.

Although illusions are now being understood, they have been around for centuries. Illusions can be traced back to ancient Greece. Aristotle noted that "our senses can be trusted but they can be easily fooled". However, the real emphasis on studying illusions and brain interpretation took place in the 19th Century. Many theories were created to explain this phenomenon and the Ebbinghaus, Ponzo and Muller-Lyer theories were created to explain why and how the brain interpreted illusions involving light, shape, shading, proportion, and distance. These concepts have been carried over to modern times and are the foundation of magic acts, illusionists, and horror movies in modern day society. The lack of knowledge of optical illusions makes it complicated to understand what is really happening.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have an understanding of how this phenomenon and have determined exactly how much of what the eye sees is from internal feedback and what is an actual reflection of external stimuli. A technique called optogenetics silences the transmission of information from the lateral-medial to the visual cortex. The research was done on mice as they looked at lines moving across a screen. The researchers measured the activity of neurons and found that by silencing the pathway, stimulation was reduced by 20 percent. This suggests that roughly one-fifth of what the eye actually sees is made up by the brain rather than the external environment.

Many people have just gone along with the "fact" that these images can trick people's minds or that the image is actually moving. It has been proven that people's eyes are the fault in these situations. It is difficult for the eye to understand many colors and complex details. The mind has had past experiences that shift to what it would like to see.

The mind tricks the eye into seeing what it already has experienced or understood. Although images are altered, the brain works intensely for people's eyes to see almost exactly what is there besides the minor shifts in the image.

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10 VSCO Presets That Make You Look Tan As All Heck

Because come on, we can't all be sun kissed while also working 40 hours a week.


I don't know about you, but I cannot seem to get to the golden shade that I so desperately want. Think I'm silly all you want, but being tan makes me more confident. Now, working 40 hours a week, during prime sun hours doesn't exactly help this dilemma, so I have taken the matter into my own hands. These are a few of the VSCO Filter pre-sets that make me feel just as sun-kissed and stunning as I aspire to be, from the comfort of my cubicle.

1. E8 +8, Contrast +1, Temperature -1, Saturation -1, H. Tint Magenta +3

2. HB2 +7, Contrast -1, Exposure -1, Temperature +0.5, Saturation +1, Fade +1.5, Grain +4

3. C8 +12, Exposure -2, Saturation -2/+2, Grain +3 (Optional)

4. C1 +12, Fade +4, Contrast +2, Exposure +2, Saturation -2, Tint +3

5. A4 +7, Exposure -2, Contrast +1.7, Temperature +1.7, Tint +1.0, Saturation -2.0, Skin tone -1.0

6. M3 +12, Temperature -1, Contrast +2, Saturation -1/+1

7. E3 +12, Temperature -1, Saturation -2, Skin -2

8. HB1 +8, Exposure -1, Temperature -1

9. C1 +12, Exposure -1, Contrast +2, Temperature +2, Saturation -2, Skin Tone -3

10. G1 +8, Exposure -2, Contrast +2, Saturation +2, Temperature -1, Fade +2

Cover Image Credit:

Erika Glover

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If Someone Is Serving You With Their Art, You Need To Pay Them

No, it's not for free.


Okay, so, I used to have a thing for photography. I still do! But, it's more of a hobby for me, and I don't really do photoshoots with anybody because I don't see my photography as being something I want to charge people for. It's just something I like doing, and I don't rely on it for any of my income.


I have plenty of friends that are obsessed with things like photography and have developed their skills so much that they have the ability to charge people for their artwork and build, essentially, a business of their own. Their photography is really good, too!

If you know anything about photography as well, you also know that every photographer has a different sense of style. Someone who's a street photographer isn't going to take photos that look the same as someone who prefers to take photos of special events like wedding or quinceañeras.

That photography? Is art. And you pay for art.

I don't know how many times my friends have told me stories of people who don't want to pay them for taking photographs of them. If not that, they argue that the prices for being photographed are too high. That's insane to me.

Do people not know that it takes time and effort to create art? Someone who's photographing you is working to provide a service to you, and somehow the thought of paying them is an issue? Ridiculous!

People pour their hearts and souls into their artwork, and asking someone to do it for free or for extraordinarily cheap, is totally rude. It doesn't matter if they're your friend either, that just makes it even ruder to suggest they don't deserve to be paid for their efforts.

Pay your friends. Pay artists. Tip them. Compliment their work and share their information with friends and family so you can help them have new clients, and support their business. Just as you would pay someone for fixing your car, or painting your house, pay your artists for taking time out of their day to provide their service to you.

It seems like it would be common sense, but from looking at social media and seeing how people refuse to pay "too much" for "amateur" artists, it seems like it's not as common as I thought. I don't know how many times I've scrolled through Twitter and seen screenshots of people telling nail techs that their prices for the most gorgeous nails were too high. HOW?

Or people criticizing the prices of local caterers. It's ridiculous.

If you afford the service in the first place, maybe reconsider even booking a photo shoot with someone at all. Maybe reconsider getting your nails done? People don't have the time to spend hours of their day providing a service to you for you to not want to reward them for their work.

Shop local. Buy from your friends. Support small businesses. Most of all?


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