The internet was sent on a roller-coaster of emotions after an optical illusion put people’s brains to the test.

The mind-boggling illusion, which has resurfaced on Reddit, was created by an outdoor snap that featured a group of friends clinking their miniature whiskey bottles together in the woods.

The internet was stumped when they initially saw four bottles but could only count three hands holding them in the picture.

Highlights

  • The internet was baffled by a photo initially appearing to show three people holding four bottles
  • The illusion resurfaced on Reddit, showing a group of friends clinking miniature whiskey bottles
  • Closer inspection revealed a fourth arm in camouflaged sleeve holding the fourth bottle
  • Experts explain optical illusions demonstrate our brain’s creation of ‘stories’ rather than true reality

“My brain refuses to believe that there are 4 people in this photo,” read the caption of the resurfaced picture shared on Reddit this week.

Upon first glance, it looks as though there is one man, in a kilt and hat, standing in the picture and raising his miniature bottle of whiskey with two other friends. The other two friends are not pictured standing beside him, but their outstretched arms are visible in the photo.

A resurfaced viral image left the internet baffled as they counted four miniature bottles but only three hands raising them up

Image credits: lukeedbnash/Reddit

A closer inspection of the photo would reveal that there are actually four bottles being held up together in the picture. And if there are four bottles, there has to be a fourth arm somewhere in the picture.

The quest to find the fourth arm left netizens confused and bewildered.

People eventually realized that the fourth arm belonged to someone wearing a camouflaged sleeve with their hand inside a blue glove. If you haven’t spotted the hand yet, take a good look at the bottle on the left that is being held by a blue glove, and you will notice the camouflaged arm.

Upon closer inspection, people spotted the fourth arm wearing a blue glove on the left side of the picture

Image credits: TheMagicianGamerTMG/Reddit

Netizens marveled at the wonder of camouflage, with one saying, “That’s the magic of the right camo.”

“This took me way too long to see,” one Reddit user admitted.

The picture previously left Reddit users flummoxed when it was posted on social media in 2021.

“I NEVER NOTICED THAT,” read one comment at the time. “Lol I legit thought they were holding up the fourth one.”

“It’s amazing how the brain works…I kept looking and just assumed one guy was taking two shots until you highlighted the camouflage…now it’s all sooo clear…” one person wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Social media users marveled at how the arm was camouflaged and that it blended so well with the background

Image credits: psdgraphicscom/stock.adobe.com (Stock photo)

Optical illusions occur when there is a disconnect between what our eyes perceive and how our brains interpret these images. Our brains have evolved over time to rapidly recognize patterns and objects as it was crucial for survival during primitive times.

With the image of the four miniature whiskey bottles, our brain does not quickly spot the hand because of the camouflaged shirt color and also because the glove is misidentified to be part of the man’s kilt.

“It’s amazing how the brain works…I kept looking and just assumed one guy was taking two shots until you highlighted the camouflage…now it’s all sooo clear…” one comment said

Image credits: Brady Rogers/Unsplash (Stock photo)

Optical illusions like these remind us that our experience of reality is not perfect but is actually a “story” created for us by our brains.

“It’s really important to understand we’re not seeing reality,” Neuroscientist Patrick Cavanagh, a research professor at Dartmouth College and a senior fellow at Glendon College in Canada, told Vox. “We’re seeing a story that’s being created for us.”

Much of our conscious experience is also predictions made by the brain, and experts say that it is not possible to measure how much our past experiences affect our current perception.

“Your brain makes a lot of unconscious inferences, and it doesn’t tell you that it’s an inference. You see whatever you see,” Pascal Wallisch, a neuroscientist at New York University, told the outlet.

Optical illusions remind us that what we see is not the actual “reality” but a “story” that our brain is creating for us, experts explained

Image credits: Jeffrey Dungen/Unsplash

While understanding the complexities of the subject, it is important to understand how the brain works. The functioning of our brain can certainly be compared to a highly intelligent supercomputer; however, the computer is blind.

Despite having great intelligence, the brain lacks the ability to see and, hence, relies on the eyes to convey visual information. However, the job of the eyes is simply to gather information and send it to the brain, and the brain decides what perception to create.

So, if the brain has to fill in gaps when there is incomplete information, it can create an image that isn’t even there.

“The brain didn’t actually evolve to see the world the way it is. We can’t. Instead, the brain evolved to see the world the way it was useful to see in the past,” Neuroscientist Dr. Beau Lotto explains

Image credits: Yuri Vasconcelos/Unsplash

Renowned Neuroscientist Dr. Beau Lotto said in a 2009 TED talk video, “The brain didn’t actually evolve to see the world the way it is. We can’t. Instead, the brain evolved to see the world the way it was useful to see in the past. And how we see is by continually redefining normality.”

He also explained that human beings are not the only ones who see optical illusions.

The neuroscientist explained that he worked on bumblebees in his lab and found that they could “completely control their experience and see how it alters the architecture of their brain.”

“Are we the only ones that see illusions? The answer to this question is no,” he told his audience. “Even the beautiful bumblebee, with its mere one million brain cells, which is 250 times fewer cells than you have in one retina, sees illusions, does the most complicated things that even our most sophisticated computers can’t do.”

After seeing the image of the four people in the woods, people agreed that camouflage really can work magic

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