The two illusions, known as the Illusory-Rabbit and the Invisible Rabbit, both use the concept of postdiction, where a stimulus can have an effect on what we think we saw or heard in the past. These two illusions are among the very first to show the working of postdiction across senses- vision and sound in this case.
Most importantly, they demonstrate how sometimes what we think happened might not have happened at all in reality. This is why Eyewitness testimony in court is not always the most reliable proof of a crime. These illusions show how our brains perceive things
“How does the brain determine reality with information from multiple senses that is at times noisy and conflicting? The brain uses assumptions about the environment to solve this problem,”
said one of researchers, Noelle Stiles from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
“When these assumptions happen to be wrong, illusions can occur as the brain tries to make the best sense of a confusing situation. We can use these illusions to unveil the underlying inferences that the brain makes.”
The illusion, Illusory-Rabbit involves a series of beeps and flashes. The user is asked to focus on a cross in the middle of the screen, as three beeping sounds play seconds apart. Simultaneously, several quick flashes appear on the bottom of the screen. Most users think that the flashes, however, occur in succession with the beeps. This is actually due to the way the brain interprets and hence the user sees what has not really happened.
Check the video out for yourself to see how it works: