Seeing swirling snakes

Brain scientists watch the eyes of people watching an optical illusion

By Stephen Ornes, 11:00 AM May 21, 2012

You’ve got eye quivers, and you can’t help it.

While staring at something, it may seem like your eyes remain motionless. But that may not be the case. Researchers have found that eyes quiver with tiny, involuntary movements called microsaccades (pronounced my-crow-SA-kadeez). In a recent study, scientists found that these jitters — together with blinking — may help explain the trick behind a popular optical illusion.

The illusion is pictured above. Stare at it for a few seconds and see w...

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