Snakes swirl in blink (and jump) of an eye | Science News

Support Science Journalism

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


Snakes swirl in blink (and jump) of an eye

Illusion emerges after tiny ocular movements

4:06pm, April 25, 2012

Tiny eye movements and blinking can make perfectly frozen snakes appear to dance, a new study shows. The results help explain the mystery of how the Rotating Snakes illusion tricks the brain.

Earlier studies have suggested that the perception of motion is triggered by the eyes drifting slowly away from a central target when viewing the illusion. But by tracking eye movements in eight volunteers, vision neuroscientists at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix found a different explanation.

Participants held down a button when the snakes seemed to swirl and lifted the button when the snakes appeared still. Right before the snakes started to move, participants began blinking more and making short jumpy eye movements calle

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content