How Many Circles Can You See In This Optical Illusion?

We all know how much the internet loves an optical illusion, but the latest visual trick to go viral is really leaving all of our eyes hurting.

The image, known as the Coffer Illusion, was submitted to Reddit, and is a variation on Gianni Sarcone’s ‘Op Art Illusion’.

At first glance the image shows a black and white pattern of sunken rectangles, but if you can only see the four-sided objects then you’re overlooking something else hiding on the screen.

Sixteen circles.

Created by Anthony Norcia, formerly of the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, the illusion won the ‘Illusion of the Year’ contest in 2006.

When it was first created, the demo was shown to approximately 100 people with an average time of around 45 seconds to distinguish the circles.

It was found that some observers take much longer, but others notice the circles after only ten or fifteen seconds.

Norcia said: “First time viewers of this display invariably do not see the sixteen circles segmented from the background. Rather, they see a series of rectangles that they frequently describe as ‘door panels’. 

type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related… + articlesList=598b049de4b0d793738b9f21,590309c7e4b02655f83b8a19,580a39e9e4b056572d829d61

“The illusion pits segmentation cues against what appears to be a very strong prior to interpret the image as a series of 3-D structures ‘coffers’ with closed boundaries. It appears that the prior involves both closure and shape-from shading assumptions.” 

Reddit users were quick to review the illusion, with some experiencing disappointment that they had been able to see the circles despite being cynical.

Chuuckaduuck said: “I was angry and skeptical thinking I was being trolled and I didn’t really want even try looking but I did and they are truly there….the vertical lines in between the boxes make for kinda pixelated circles…”

“It took me a while too, but if you just look at the center image & try to just look at it as a whole the circles are more visible,” said DoorsToZeppelin

Ekhowl said: “HOLY SHIT! That was creepy as hell, I just couldn’t see any circles and then… BAM, can’t unsee.”

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post UK, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.