How is this Possible?
Upon the revelation of the Herring Illusion, scientists were baffled, and did not know what to make of it. They manipulated the picture and the lines to try to discover the mystery behind this illusion discovered by Ewald Herring who stumbled upon it in 1861.
During that time, the discovery puzzled scientists, challenging them to get to the root of it. After much research, they concluded that the illusion occurs only when you position the image horizontally or vertically.
They rotated the angles of the picture to see if the illusion was repeated, but were surprised to find out that it didn’t. Therefore, the final conclusion to the illusory effect was that due to the placement of the parallel lines in front of angular lines, your brain is deceived into creating a false impression of depth of curved lines.
How does the Brain Interpret the Illusion?
Refer back to the image of the flower and focus on the parallel lines. It looks as if the flower is trying to break through the barrier of the lines, bending them. Your brain is playing tricks on you because those lines that you see are straight and not bending the least bit. Your brain sees the lines in relation to depth making it appear as if the flower is actually trying to bend the bars. According to Herring, the brain interprets the lines as being further away and widely spaced at the focal point.
Brief History on Ewald Herring
Ewald Herring came into the spotlight when he disagreed with Thomas Young, Hermann von Helmholtz, and James Clerk Mazwell regarding the theory on how the visual system interpreted colors, specifically primary colors, green, red, purple, or blue.
Herring suggested that the visual system functioned using a system of color opponency. Color opponency, developed in 1892, stated that the visual system perceives red or green, but never greenish-red. However, he didn’t have enough evidence to support his theory.
Apart from this, he’s also known for developing Hering’s law of visual direction, Hering’s law of equal innervations, Hering-Breurer reflex, and of course the Hering illusion. Furthermore, throughout his life, he was embroiled in a conflict with Helmholtz who he disagreed with often on many subjects. People to this day, remain devout followers of Hering and Helmholtz’s teachings, and are frequently at odds with each other to who’s right.
If you want to see a mind-boggling illusion, see the Herring illusion. Apart from the example mentioned in this post, there are many other examples widespread on the internet. The primary reason that this illusion creates such a stir is because it tricks the mind into seeing something the viewer knows is straight. If you don’t believe the lines are actually straight, try to narrow your eyes, the result will be startling.