Stare at the dots on the nose. What do you see?

With so many people still sheltering in place these days, you’re likely seeing many riddles, photos, and tricks going viral on your social media feed. One of the more recent optical illusions to resurface asks you to “focus on the three colored dots on the girl’s nose” and then look at the ceiling to see her real photo. Read on to learn how this optical illusion works and to see other versions of it.

Here’s How the Optical Illusion Works

The post typically reads something like this:

Focus on the three colored dots on the girl’s nose for 30 seconds without blinking, and then lift your head to the ceiling and blink fast! Did you see the real picture of the girl on the ceiling? So Amazing.

Other versions might tell you to focus on the red dot on the nose. Here’s the photo people are currently sharing. Do you see it?

Screen Shot 2020 05 17 at 2.39.01 PM ‘Focus on the Three Colored Dots on the Nose’: Viral Photo Explained


It’s not clear where the photo originated, but it works if you stare at it long enough and then look up at a blank ceiling.

Versions of this trick have been circulating for years, but they’ve gone viral again now that people are staying home more. These are referred to as negative afterimages. A regular afterimage occurs when you briefly can still see the image even when the original image itself is gone, Very Well Mind reported. The negative afterimage is just another version of the same thing, only slightly more complicated. With a negative afterimage, the colors are inverted. This means that red on the original image will now appear as green because of the opponent-process. The idea is that when staring at blue and red, for example, you used the blue and red parts of your opponent-process cells. After staring for a certain period of time, these cells temporarily can’t fire as much and get “tired,” so to speak. Then when you look at a white background, the green and yellow opponent-process cells can still work just fine, but you “wore out” the blue and red. Because of this, you’ll see different colors on the white background than you saw on the original photo.

Here’s the image above with the colors reversed, as shared on Imgur:

Screen Shot 2020 05 17 at 2.56.57 PM ‘Focus on the Three Colored Dots on the Nose’: Viral Photo Explained


Once again, it’s not clear where the photo originated in the first place, as it’s been shared for years on social media.

Here Are More Versions of the Same Trick

There are quite a few versions of this same trick circulating on social media. Here’s one that works the same way.

There’s even one that shows Jesus:

Screen Shot 2020 05 17 at 2.58.09 PM ‘Focus on the Three Colored Dots on the Nose’: Viral Photo Explained


And another Jesus one:

Here’s another with a young girl:

As you can see, there are a lot of versions of this same optical illusion that you might run across on social media.

This is just one of many games and puzzles circulating on sites like Facebook and Instagram during the coronavirus pandemic. If you’ve seen the “How Many Ducks Do You See?” riddle and were stumped, check out Heavy’s explanation here. If you ran into the “I Met a Man on London Bridge” riddle and have no idea what the man’s name is, you can find the answer in Heavy’s story here. The answer to the “You Enter a Bedroom” riddle is here, and the answer to the “Can You Open the Lock Using These Clues?” riddle is here.

If you’re looking for the answer to the “Hotel with 100 Rooms” riddle, it’s here. The answer to the “State Without an A” riddle is here. The answer to the “How many letters are in the answer?” riddle is here. And the answer to the “Penny Has 5 Children” riddle is here.

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