Supermassive Black Holes Could Be Killing Our Universe’s Earliest Galaxies

A new optical illusion, or should we say 'science illusion' is causing a large amount of people to feel like they are falling into a black hole.

The image, which you can see below and is best viewed in full screen mode, has been created by Akiyoshi Kitakoa as part of research published by Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

All the image consists of is one large black dot in the centre of the image on a white background, surrounded by several smaller black dots. The image is completely static and doesn't move at all but the longer you stare at it the larger the big dot appears to grow, at least if you are in the 86 per cent of people who can see it, that is.

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Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

According to the research this reaction happens no matter where the person is when viewing the image and even if they are in a well-lit room.

These types of illusions are known as "perceiving the present." Although our brains are very fast at processing images, it can still take around 100 milliseconds for our retinas to make sense of what we see before us.

In a statement Dr Bruno Laeng, a professor at the Department of Psychology of the University of Oslo and the study's first author, said: "The 'expanding hole' is a highly dynamic illusion: The circular smear or shadow gradient of the central black hole evokes a marked impression of optic flow, as if the observer were heading forward into a hole or tunnel."

As part of their research, 50 people with normal vision were shown the illusion but 14 per cent of those couldn't see the illusion at all while the large hole was black.

Those who didn't experience the illusion at all didn't experience any pupil change whatsoever.

As a result, the researchers were able to make some assessments on how our brain and eyes respond to visual stimulations and that our pupils are not influenced by actual changes in our physical environment but also our imagined perception of our surroundings.

Laeng adds: "Our results show that pupils' dilation or contraction reflex is not a closed-loop mechanism, like a photocell opening a door, impervious to any other information than the actual amount of light stimulating the photoreceptor. Rather, the eye adjusts to perceived and even imagined light, not simply to physical energy. Future studies could reveal other types of physiological or bodily changes that can ‘throw light’ onto how illusions work."

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