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Visual Retention and Expectations

When I was a kid I used to collect every kind of Optical Illusion I could find. I actually made this one on a piece of poster board with a sharpie and used a turntable to activate it (I didn’t do this modernization, just the same illusion).

This illusion comes from a phenomenon called Visual Retention and Visual Latency where-in the nerves of the eye continue to fire based on something they have become conditioned to. This works with still images, and also moving ones, as illustrated here. In many of the articles here we speak about the properties of our expectations, habits and rituals creating the life we experience. In other words, the very nature of our lives functions much the same way as this illusion, we continue to see and experience what we have grown accustomed to experiencing.

This is a much more physical phenomenon then we give it credit for. Even when we remove the stimulus, or break the habit, it literally continues to play in our nervous system for some time.