About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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Brain Waves

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November 13, 2003

Mind Movement

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Click on the following to witness an amazing illusion, that's real.

NOTE: Click here for an explanation of this illusion - Thanks David

Comments (80) | Category: Mental Health Issues


1. coolmel on November 13, 2003 6:36 PM writes...


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2. Ann on November 13, 2003 8:00 PM writes...

Now we know what you do in your spare time between writing your chapters. Weird but WONDERFUL. Thanks

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3. pyc on December 2, 2003 8:27 PM writes...

What is the explanation for this?

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4. Explained on December 4, 2003 6:51 AM writes...

The picture is not animated. Your eyes are making it move. To test this, stare at one spot for a couple seconds and everything will stop moving. Or look at the black center of each circle and it will stop moving. But move your eyes to the next black center and the previous will move after you take your eyes away from it.

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5. Roger Miller on January 6, 2004 6:30 PM writes...

I printed the image with a color printer (hp photosmart) and the illusion of movement didn't work. Is this due to the difference between the projected light on the computer v. the reflected light on the paper or what?

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6. kathi on March 23, 2004 5:21 PM writes...

Two friends and I are looking at this. I am the only one that does not see any movement. Why is that?

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7. Jesica Thurman on March 26, 2004 6:36 PM writes...

Wow! That's really neat-o! Awesome how somebody knows how to do that kind of stuff!

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8. Halli Thorst on March 26, 2004 7:43 PM writes...

Very strange! When I move my laptop around with this on-screen, or walk around with it, it keeps still. As soon as I keep it still, it moves. It's it or me. Really relative. Yin & yang-ee.

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9. merlvyn ABU on April 9, 2004 8:03 AM writes...

i think you got this idea by looking at Astainless steel tray

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10. chris w on April 18, 2004 9:19 PM writes...

thats really cool. did u make that or find out how to make stuff like that at your brain waves job or what ever it is?

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11. chris w on April 18, 2004 9:23 PM writes...

when u sleep and you dream about things, is it what the brain wants or just its imagination running?

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12. JOAN on May 8, 2004 9:29 PM writes...


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13. kerry on May 8, 2004 10:45 PM writes...

i noticed that when the circle is cut off by the edge of the screen it does not move

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14. dan on May 11, 2004 10:57 AM writes...

or if you closde one eye it will stop. left right brain activity?

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15. Brad Brooks on May 16, 2004 11:55 AM writes...

Where is the illusion. I have searched the website and cannot find it. Could you email me. So I may veiw it. Thank you.

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16. NuNu on May 19, 2004 7:36 PM writes...

Notice that the further away u r from the screen the less movement there is :)

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17. PENNY on May 26, 2004 12:58 AM writes...


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18. sarah hardie on May 26, 2004 4:22 PM writes...

When you focus on one "circle," that circle doesn't move, but everything else does. So, if you follow the circles around you never can actually watch it straight on.

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19. Val on June 2, 2004 9:00 AM writes...

Unbelievable, it even worked when I printed it in black and white.

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20. Kevin Russell on June 7, 2004 2:11 PM writes...

If you print it out in black & white, it will still give the illusion of movement

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21. Gareth on June 16, 2004 6:02 PM writes...

Just fell off my chair,must have watched for too long.wheres the first aid box?

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22. tony arterburn on June 23, 2004 12:18 PM writes...

this is way cool!!!! but how did you do it? what is the HTML??? can i put it on my web site ???

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23. Al Seckel on June 23, 2004 5:01 PM writes...

This is a perceptual drift illusion created by Japanese vision scientist Akiyoshi Kitaoka. He has created many of these illusions, which can be found in my two of my books of illusions. The illusion works best on the screen, because the luminance values can be tightly controled, whereas in the four-color printing process they cannot, and so the illusion is greatly diminished. Also, scale and resolution is another factor. The web image is at 72 dpi, and you need at least 300 dpi for proper printing quality, so printing off the net will not help matters especially in this type of illusion.

If you are interested in the science of opticial illusions, then check out my books on the topic, which are the most authorative. They can be found on my web site:

My latest one contains a whole chapter on Kitaoka's work.

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24. Carrie on June 23, 2004 10:08 PM writes...

Fabulous! Any others? :>

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25. Craig Scott on June 25, 2004 9:38 AM writes...


I have a friend who does not see movement in the rotating snakes illusion. What does this mean?


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26. Hannah on June 25, 2004 10:00 AM writes...

I printed in color and it worked!!!!!

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27. R. on June 25, 2004 10:01 AM writes...


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28. Lon on June 28, 2004 5:15 PM writes...

I believe that there are small muscles in the retina that are constantly moving the 'retinal image' in a slow figure eight motion. This is due to the fact that a rod or cone cell is only traceable once & has to be 'reset' for the next light impulse. Our brain compensates for this motion, but it can be seen by staring at a point and noticing that within your peripheral vision, all objects start a slow figure eight sweep. I think that with so many detailed circles in the image that this slow eye movement seems to animate the image

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29. Jennifer Heiner on June 30, 2004 8:42 AM writes...

This is so cool! It is very interesting how your brain makes the picture move. I stood about 3 feet awaay and it did not move at all. That's interesting. It is so cool!

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30. Cissy on July 1, 2004 2:12 PM writes...

A friend sent this to me, I love it, reminds me
of the 70's, Thanks for the flashback

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31. randy spangler on July 12, 2004 4:24 PM writes...

not moving for me i weird? yes, i am. hurrah !!!

maybe a pint of vodka might change my poerception of it.

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32. Don on July 15, 2004 10:25 AM writes...

Here is the link to the guy that actually creates these. There are a bunch more to look at but not right after lunch.

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33. Donna on July 15, 2004 11:59 AM writes...

A friend just e-mailed this to me and that was really neat. I've read some of the comments and thats weird that some people don't see any movement. I saw it as soon as I looked at it.

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34. Frank on July 17, 2004 5:54 PM writes...

Hallo David,

I experience the same at times, when I look at the drapes in my home, the vertical pleats seem to move, as if the drape is moving by a draught what is not so.
Please tell me why this is.
With regards,

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35. Elizabeth on July 18, 2004 2:34 AM writes...

That is facinating!((Sp?)) Personally, I love this type of information and I'm trying to study more and more into the way the brain works and am planning on getting my hands omn book and articles that Have to do with brain waves and neural ((sp?))science.

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36. Marilee on July 19, 2004 10:48 PM writes...

I told my husband to watch it to

its awsome

thanks : )

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37. Tess on July 20, 2004 11:41 AM writes...

that is so cool

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38. Tess on July 20, 2004 11:41 AM writes...

that is so cool

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39. andy on July 21, 2004 6:18 AM writes...

My eyes! I'm blind!

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40. Rosalie Lopez on July 21, 2004 9:21 AM writes...

I could not see them move at all. Could it be something wrong, or maybe the set up of contact lenses that I wear (mono vision)

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41. Maribel on July 21, 2004 1:22 PM writes...

Its giving me a headache !!

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42. Mark on July 22, 2004 5:08 PM writes...

Big deal, so it's an obtical illusion. Is this the best you could come up with?????

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43. jen on July 31, 2004 6:19 AM writes...

I have one eye, I can still see it move.

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44. Snoopy Dog on August 1, 2004 5:43 PM writes...

It even works looking thru my third eye. Ganish.

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45. donna on August 5, 2004 10:33 PM writes...

too cool

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46. Imno on August 9, 2004 4:27 PM writes...

I saved it as my wallpaper... it drives everyone else crazy!

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47. Randy Hayes on August 10, 2004 11:04 AM writes...

I printed it on my HP OfficeJet G55xi and it works, it moves, it swirls. Also saved as my desktop. It's a good stress reliever!

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48. Trebron on August 19, 2004 2:06 PM writes...

I see no movement. This seems to be a hoax presented with pseudo-scientific bull. You could come up with something better -- at least more fun.

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49. Barry Valentine on August 20, 2004 11:59 PM writes...

I am a Magician, out of the Magic Castle in Hollywood, California and I love it. By the way I just had eye surgery on both eyes so I now have 20/20 vision. Their doing miracles now-a-days.

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50. Lorraine on August 22, 2004 1:22 PM writes...

It wouldn't open for me. Just a little x in a box. ?

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51. NANCY on August 22, 2004 5:15 PM writes...


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52. Victoria on August 24, 2004 11:55 AM writes...

I hvae seen this once before. I think its awesome how wonderful GOD has made our eyes and our brain to work so in sync to have such a vision.

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53. Denise on August 27, 2004 5:05 PM writes...

Optical illusions such as this are so fascinating. Interesting to read some of the other comments people make.

Those who think it's stupid or doesn't work are obviously brain dead - JUST KIDDING , DON'T GET YOUR BOWELS IN AN UPROAR. Sheez, some people just have no sense of humor.

Personally I like the one who feel off the chair and needed the first aid box, now you have a great sense of humor.

It was fun, thanks for sharing ;)

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54. Naveen on August 30, 2004 1:56 AM writes...

It was amazing. It improved my concentration. Please send me the benefits of this type of illusions.

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55. mo on August 30, 2004 3:23 AM writes...

dear daivid your notes are great but how can we do brain waves

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56. mo on August 30, 2004 3:26 AM writes...

your notes are great but how do we get brain waves

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57. LKABEL on August 30, 2004 8:37 AM writes...

you demonstrate the illusion of illusion. We are so much more than the illusion we think we are. We are trying to make illusion real in every possible way... Illusion uses space in our creative mind and this is how we experience lfe.

Our real work is to wake up and use our inner power to create love and expand it to all life. Happyness, greatness and beauty comes from finding love towards eachother for a unified world

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58. jms on August 30, 2004 2:33 PM writes...

These optical illusions are really something to see! I wanted a biiiiiggg colorful poster with that and hang it in the living room so that whenever I open my front door, anyone there can see it behind my back and get them distracted.. heh...

Even my husband saw it on my laptop and said, 'Cool!!'. lol...

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59. becca on September 1, 2004 12:11 AM writes...

It's very interesting how the mind works ! My eyes, however, are very confused. I started to get a headache!!! It does work though and it's really neat.

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60. MANDI on September 1, 2004 4:04 PM writes...


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61. MONTY on September 1, 2004 5:33 PM writes...

I would guess that the refreshing lines on your video display accelerate the effectual movement. Is this correct?

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62. Alex on September 4, 2004 3:41 AM writes...

Very, very cool. Will it work on a large scale? I do large format graphics and would like to wrap my van with this as part of the design. Is there anyone I need to talk to about copyrights or for getting a vector format of the artwork?



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63. getrdone on September 5, 2004 12:53 PM writes...

That was cool david you get r done with the movy pic thing.

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64. Sunil Tiwari on September 7, 2004 7:05 AM writes...

Simply MindBlowwing :)

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65. paula nelson on September 7, 2004 9:15 AM writes...

cool, send me more"

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66. sheree on September 10, 2004 9:48 PM writes...

While I have no problem seeing this, my husband who is dyslexic see's absolutly no movement.

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67. Maria on September 15, 2004 8:14 AM writes...

I think it's awesome... I see it moving.... but what makes this even more interesting is, why some people see it moving and some don't... I'd like to find out what could be the problem... their eyesight? brainwaves? Does anyone have an answer for this?

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68. Nanor Bouladian on September 17, 2004 11:25 AM writes...

My neurons are smiling! Way to go Mr. Lynch et al! :) Nanor Bouladian

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69. kevin my is klblink182... on September 19, 2004 4:57 PM writes...

dude thats kool i seen more but that ones kool and i showed my dad and he saisd its kool to and i made it as my wallpaper and everybody says its kool to lmao

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70. mindbender on September 28, 2004 8:33 PM writes...

trippy brah

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71. Rita on September 29, 2004 8:02 AM writes...

this was very cool, just wondering if you had any more? Thanx Rita

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72. Mark Lopa on September 30, 2004 7:29 AM writes...

This is wild! My dad is color blind, so I wonder if it would work for him.

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73. Denise on September 30, 2004 12:16 PM writes...

How fun!! Optical illusions are the best! Thanks!

Denise. :)

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74. SistaSola on October 6, 2004 7:43 PM writes...

Great illusion! One of the best I've seen.

I love the comment above from the person "who can even see it with my third eye!".


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75. mikoyan on October 7, 2004 1:27 PM writes...

i saw this one printed on some japanese merchandise few years ago. it rox

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76. larry on October 11, 2004 5:37 PM writes...

perhaps it has something to do with the refresh rate of the monitor screen, producing a kind of interferance with the eyes...?

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77. Net Police on October 15, 2004 4:46 AM writes...

This illusion has been copied from Ayukoshi's Illusion Pages- I wonder why the Mr Ayukoshi's name is not mentioned here. For those of u interested in such stuff, do take a look at Ayukoshi's page for many more interesting illusions.

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78. MCK on October 15, 2004 12:28 PM writes...

This is one of the best optical illusions I have seen. They are fun and very amazing. It is wonderful that there are folks who enjoy creating things like this for others to think about and enlighted thier day. Thanks.

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79. Hillary on October 15, 2004 1:25 PM writes...

Wow this was so cool! I think that the mind works in such cool ways! Thanks for the explanation too!

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80. lyall brown on October 26, 2004 3:40 AM writes...

Very interesting. My friend who brought it to our attention has Dwayne's Syndrome but can see it too - any other optical illusions????

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