Optical illusions are some of the most fascinating phenomena of the natural world, and occur when either your brain of the laws of physics play tricks on your sense of perception. In a recent video, the team at SciShow explained the science behind some of the most common and confusing optical illusions.

As explained by host Hank Green, some optical illusions can be summed up as simply the eyes compensating for overstimulation. For example, this can happen we we stare at a colored wall for an extended period of time and then look away. Known as "after images," the color-detecting cells in the eyes can get tired from overuse, which is why these cells will take a temporary break when we look away. As a result, we may see colors that aren’t really there.

Other illusions are caused by the brain making assumptions when it does not have enough information to make a clear conclusion. For example, in famous optical illusions such as “The Spinning Dancer” and “The Duck/Rabbit,” different individuals' brains draw different conclusions based on the limited information at hand.

Lastly, some optical illusions are due to the laws of nature, such as mirages. Light can bend in heat just as it bends in water, and under the right circumstances, extremely hot environments can cause us to see images that aren’t really there. According to Green, the same illusion can occur on water, which may actually explain the legend of the famous “Flying Dutchman” ghost ship that sailors claimed to have seen floating above the sea.

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