Train Track Optical Illusion Confuses The Mind


Which train track is longer?

Two identical train tracks appear different, in an optical illusion that leaves a lot to be desired from mind’s perspective.

Metro reports:

Dad and BBC Academy trainer Marc Settle stumbled on the latest mind-bending optical illusion while tidying away his toddler’s wooden train track.

When he placed lined two pieces of track next to each other, one looked significantly longer. But, when placed on top of each other, they magically became exactly the same size.

He shared his discovery, set to suitably dramatic music, on Twitter, along with a plea for help: ‘My toddler’s train track is freaking me out right now. What is going on here?!’

‘The lower one is *clearly* bigger than the upper one. Until it isn’t,’ he later clarified.

His tweet was shared over a thousand times overnight. Possibly by drunk people.

But, drunk or not, people were baffled.

And quite a few blamed Ikea.

But, thankfully, there is an explanation: it’s a classic Jastrow illusion, as discovered by American psychologist Joseph Jastrow in the late 19th century.

It’s all to do with perspective.

Although the two tracks are identical, when one of the curved pieces is placed below the other, the lower one appears to be larger.

That’s because the short edge of the upper track is being compared to the long side of the lower one.

Shifting the upper track to the right would reveal they are identical sizes.

Makes sense right?

Now try it on all your drunk friends tonight.track

Edmondo Burr

BA Economics/Statistics
Assistant Editor
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