This 12 dots optical illusion is driving everyone nuts

This optical illusion has 12 dots placed at different intersections of these grey lines. However, most people can not see all 12 dots at the same time.


Optical illusions are so confusing and captivating at the same time that they hold the power to break the internet. The latest optical illusion that has the internet awkwardly staring at their computer and mobile screens for hours is a picture that will make you question your own vision. The image is basically multiple grey lines intersecting into each other, set against a white background. On the nodes of intersection of these lines are 12 dots, however, most people are unable to see all 12 dots at the same time. And that is making the social media go bonkers!

The optical illusion was first posted on Facebook on Sunday by Japanese psychology professor Akiyoshi Kitaoka, who wrote, “Ninio’s extinction illusion. Twelve black dots cannot be seen at once.” The peeps on the internet went crazy sharing the post, trying to figure out the post, if anybody could actually see all 12 dots, and if there really were in fact 12 dots in the picture. Kitaoka’s Facebook post has over 17,000 shares. Game developer Will Kerslake also shared the image of the optical illusion on his Twitter account, which has been retweeted over 30,000 times and likes more than 29,000 times. The post was originally published a scientific paper published in the journal Perception in 2000.




Now if you look at this visual trickery, it is really mind boggling. Wherever you set sight on the image, you can see the black dots where the lines are intersecting, however when you move your vision around, the dots adjacent to the one you are looking at appear and disappear. I was unable to see more than three dots at once. I tried everything, tried to view it from different angles, i squinted my eyes, tried to see the image from different distances, to be able to see all 12 dots, but all I got at the end of my efforts was a headache. Just to be clear, there are in fact 12 dots. Also read: This feline optical illusion has taken the internet by storm

Naturally, users over the internet have been constantly questioning why such an illusion occurs. The reason is that humans have a very limited peripheral vision. For instance, while reading, when you look at one word, the words and sentences around it are a blur. You can barely see a couple of words that are followed by the word you are staring at. However, brain uses its own understanding to make the best guess about what’s most likely to follow. The optical illusion works in a similar manner, the number of dots you can see is the limit of your peripheral vision. While most people can not see all 12 dots, there still are people who can see them all. Like this man’s wife who could see all 12 dots, and the man now has doubts if his wife could be a witch!’

This particular optical illusion is a lot similar to the Hermann grid illusion, which is somewhat the color inverse of this visual trick. The Hermann grid is a black and white check, in which you see grey patches on the corners of those lines. Similar to the optical illusion in question, in the Hermann grid too the grey patches appear and disappear as you move your eyes around on the different lines and intersections.

  • Published Date: September 13, 2016 1:55 PM IST
  • Updated Date: September 13, 2016 2:30 PM IST