The 12 Dots Optical Illusion Is a Good Way to Break Your Brain

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Another work week, another optical illusion to help you kill time at your desk and find something to chat about with your co-workers. This week’s mind-bending question: There are 12 black dots in this picture. Can you see them all at the same time?

The illusion (which you also might have seen making the rounds on Facebook earlier this week) is known in the world of optical illusions as Ninio’s extinction illusion and comes from a study published in Perception back in 2000. According to the study, you can’t see all 12 dots simultaneously because “when the white disks in a scintillating grid are reduced in size, and outlined in black, they tend to disappear. One sees only a few of them at a time, in clusters which move erratically on the page.”

If I squint really hard, I can see six dots. (Which seems like a good result for me, the blogger who spent an hour staring at this brick-wall illusion before someone finally took pity on me and pointed out the cigar shoved in it.) Alternatively, you could try getting wine drunk before giving the black dot illusion a go. Seems to have done the trick for this guy.