The illusion of light constricts pupils
Which of the figures below is brightest in the middle? Maybe when your brain plays tricks on you it isn’t a mistake, but rather a sort of improvement on reality.
These two illusions are made according to a design by the psychologist and artist Akiyoshi Kitaoka. The figure on the left is called “Morning sunlight”, and appears to have a bright light at the centre. The other one is called “Evening dusk”, and it seems to have a dimmer interior and a glowing corona. Both figures are actually equally bright, inside and outside. (Figures: Bruno Laeng, Tor Endestad and Akiyoshi Kitaoka)
It’s an old philosophical question: when you walk down the street, seeing, smelling, hearing and feeling the environment around you – to what degree are you experiencing reality as it is?
Animals’ and humans’ abilities to sense themselves and their environment have developed in the course of over a billion years of evolution. Still, sometimes it seems as if our brain is fooling us.
Illusions are a poignant example. In the picture above you see two forms put together from identical pieces. One of the forms seems to have a glowing centre. In the other the centre appears dimmer.
In reality the middle sectors of both are equally light. Our brain interprets it otherwise. It’s an optical illusion.