This Optical Illusion Has Us Seeing Dots That Aren’t Really There

The Hermann Grid

We love a good optical illusion when we need a mental break. Optical illusions are just that—illusions! They’re a fun way to get your brain working again or just to take a quick pause during something stressful. Plus, it really gets you thinking.

We’ve seen quite a bit of optical illusions over the years—from this weird bar illusion to this real-life pants trickery, to finding the empty mug among all the full ones, and much more. There are all kinds of optical illusions and each one provides its own unique deal of fun and thought.

The latest optical illusion going around the internet is one that’s really going to mess with your head—at least, it did ours, and plenty of other people’s heads who have come across it.

The image is simple: There are some white discs that lay on gray bars atop a black background. The weird thing about it is that when you look at it—even just a quick glance—it appears as if the white dots change to black the moment you take your eyes off them. However, once you try and look at the black dot, it changes back to white. The whole thing can really make you wonder if the black dots are even there, or if you’re just seeing things (which, again, is what optical illusions are all about)!

This image actually isn’t new—it’s known as the scintillating grid illusion and was discovered by E and B Lingelbach and M Schrauf back in 1994. There are a few different versions of this optical illusion, each more head-scratching than the next.

The scintillating grid illusion is usually considered a variation of the Hermann grid illusion, which was first reported by Ludimar Hermann in 1870 after he discovered it reading John Tyndall’s On Sound. Then in 1872, Ewald Hering found that inverse colors (aka a black grid on a white background) gave similar weird results. The Hermann grid then became known as the “Hermann-Hering” grid. So really, it goes way back in time—but still stumps us all to this day.

Okay, enough of a vocabulary lesson—here’s the scintillating grid illusion that’s taken the internet by storm once again (it makes its rounds every so often!). Take a look below and let us know what you think.

The Hermann Grid

What do you think of this optical illusion? Have you ever seen it before? What’s your favorite kind of optical illusion?