Our senses can sometimes play tricks on us. Image Credit: sxc.hu
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have developed an intriguing new sensory illusion.
Known as the 'Rabbit Illusion', this mind-bending brain teaser has been designed to show how our senses can influence each other and in particular, how sounds can give rise to visual illusions.
To try the illusion for yourself, watch the video below (before reading the explanation.)
The illusion works by bombarding your senses with a rapid series of beeps and flashes. The idea is to determine how many flashes there were - did you see two or three ?
Although most people will see three flashes, the correct answer is that there were only two.
The illusion demonstrates a phenomenon known as postdiction in which a stimulus that occurs later can alter our perception of something that happened previously.
In this case, hearing three beeps influences our perception of how many flashes there were.
"Illusions are a really interesting window into the brain," said first author Noelle Stiles. "By investigating illusions, we can study the brain's decision-making process. For example, how does the brain determine reality with information from multiple senses that is at times noisy and conflicting?"