20 Optical Illusions That Reveal A Lot About Your Character

According to research conducted by experts at Queen’s University in Ontario, the typical human brain processes about 6,200 thoughts each day. In case you haven’t already done the math, that’s a new thought every 14 seconds. But did you know that how your brain analyzes information reveals a lot about your personality? Take these optical illusions, for example. What you see in them – or put another way, how your mind interprets them – may say more about you than you realize.

20. Crocodile or boat?

What’s the first thing you see when you look at the image above? Is it a silhouette of a crocodile, teeth bared and with its nose pointing toward the left of the picture? Or do those “teeth” actually appear as waves lapping at the side of a boat with two figures aboard?

Well, if the boat stood out, website The Powerful Mind says that you’re likely to pay attention to the little things. You’ll probably also come across as inventive, idiosyncratic and even unique; at the same time, though, you should take care not to get lost in specifics. If you saw the crocodile, on the other hand, you’re likely to be more pragmatic and wary. Take a few chances sometimes if you can.

19. Pillars or figures?

One of two images should come into view here depending on whether you focus on the lighter elements or the darker areas. At first glance, you’ll probably have noticed either three white columns or two shadowy figures. And, intriguingly, what you spotted could tell the world a lot about how you live your life.

If the pillars stood out, then The Powerful Mind claims that it’s likely you prefer safety and calm. You may also spend more time thinking about your objectives rather than working toward achieving them – meaning, from time to time, you may have to take risks even if they feel uncomfortable. If the figures are more prominent, however, this suggests that you’re mercurial and perhaps a bit of a maverick. Your curiosity prevails over any instincts you may have to stay in one place.

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18. Woman or man?

What do you see in this image? If it’s the back of a young woman’s head, then, according to The New Zealand Herald, you’re inquisitive and see the positives in life. You may also enjoy charity work or helping people in need in your community. Be wary of making knee-jerk decisions, though, even if you’re likely to see tasks through to completion.

If, on the other hand, you initially perceived an old man with a mustache, then The New Zealand Herald assesses you as loyal, trustworthy and level-headed. You’re likely to be dependable and honest with an ability to find the right way forward and lead others to this, too. Still, while you’ll usually follow a carefully plotted course to avoid impetuous choices, you should be mindful that aspiring to perfection can be stressful.

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17. Explosion or thumbs?

This image was created by the Israeli artist Noma Bar, who specializes in using negative space to create ambiguous illustrations. And of his work, he has explained, “An artist using ‘negative space’ relies on the space that surrounds the subject to provide shape and meaning to the hidden images. Of course, the term also refers to any topic that conjures feelings of unease and discomfort.” So, what exactly do you see here?

Perhaps the yellow-to-red gradient looks like an explosion. If that’s the case, then according to website The Wonder List you have good organizational skills and outstanding leadership qualities. If, however, you immediately see the black space that looks like two thumbs, then you have compassion for others and are kind and generous.

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16. Old or young?

This more complex image is the work of Mexican surrealist Octavio Ocampo. He produces art that is open to interpretation by the viewer and where, as he puts it, “nothing is quite as it seems.” So, what’s the first thing you spot in this piece, Forever Always?

Well, some may see an old couple looking back to their youth when they were carefree and having fun. If this is what comes to mind first, then you’ve lived a satisfying life and are content with how it has played out. If you initially perceive the young couple, however, then you may still be relatively youthful and carefree – and safe in the knowledge that you have a good support network around you.

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15. Binoculars, car or letter?

There are not two but three things you may see when looking at this image for the first time. You could have spotted a man wearing a hat looking through a set of binoculars, for instance. Alternatively, you may notice a car perpendicular to a road. Or maybe the letter “A” even jumped out at you first?

If you saw the man, then, it’s suggested that you’re better at seeing life in the round rather than sweating the small stuff. If the car initially grabbed your attention, however, then you value liberty and moving through the world according to your own rhythm – even if you may get caught up on finer details. And the letter “A”? Well, if you visualized that first, then you may have a strong ability to think laterally.

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14. Faces or candlestick?

Does this image show two faces staring at each other? If that’s what you see, then according to The Powerful Mind you’re an extrovert who loves social gatherings. You’re the center of attention at parties, and your energy levels are given a boost when you are interacting with others – especially if they’re on the same wavelength.

However, if you saw a candlestick first, then The Powerful Mind describes you as less of a people person. You’re probably contemplative –perhaps even shy – and prefer to be left with your thoughts. It’s more likely that you relish alone time at home rather than going to parties, and you prefer the company of a few select people to mingling with crowds.

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13. It’s all about gender…

There are multiple perspectives to this illusion depending on whether you are a man or a woman. The Powerful Mind says, for instance, that women who see the man’s face first may either be looking for a passionate romance or are already closely bonded to a current partner. If they notice a woman’s face first, though, then they are likely to be mentally strong and self-assured.

Similarly, men who see the woman’s face to begin with may be on the lookout for a long-term partner with whom to settle down. If they spot the man’s face first, though, then they may have worries about bonding with other men – be it at work, among friends or in social spaces.

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12. Moon or birds?

What do you notice at first glance in the above image? Do you see a round face with a mustache and closed eyes? Or do you perceive two birds in front of a full moon in the night sky? Well, the answer to that question could give valuable insight into how you interact with people around you.

If you saw the face first, for instance, then The Wonder List suggests that you are tactful, personable and do your best to avoid disagreements. Your instincts serve you well, too. On the other hand, if you noticed the birds initially, then you’re likely upbeat and hospitable with a knack for getting on with strangers. Often, you’re also a good sounding board for those close to you.

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11. Mask or figure?

Can you see a superhero mask? Or is it lingerie? While to some, this picture obviously shows Peter Parker’s crime-fighting disguise, for others there’s clearly a white bra on a red background. So, what immediately comes to mind when you gaze at this image?

Well, The Wonder List claims that if you saw Spider-Man, then you have a very placid, reticent and unflappable nature. You’re probably a stickler for tradition, too, and don’t enjoy rocking the boat. If you noticed a bra, on the other hand, then you generally seek out excitement in your life and are open to trying new things. You also take each day as it comes and generally live life without regrets.

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10. Bird or feline?

This image was created by the U.K. investment and loans company Funding Circle. And it’s the firm’s belief that what you see first can determine what kind of role would best suit you. Professional types that Funding Circle has identified include the go-to person, the business creative and the big-picture thinker. So, do you see a lynx or bird in flight here?

Well, if you spotted the lynx first, then it’s Funding Circle’s belief that you’re the type of person who can see the big picture. This would make you suitable for jobs that involve brainstorming, team assembly and project management. If, however, you saw the bird, then you’re more of a go-getter with entrepreneurial flair. People will depend on you to get the job done.

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9. Old or young?

This well-known optical illusion – created in this form by William Ely Hill – dates all the way back to the early 20th century, although it may have existed in other incarnations even before that. And research carried out by two professors of psychology suggests that people see different things in the picture depending upon how old they are.

The illustration is called “My Wife or Mother-In-Law,” and academics at Flinders University in Adelaide showed it to 393 people aged from 18 to 68. And the Australian study showed that the eldest 10 percent of participants saw the old woman looking toward the bottom left of the frame first. The youngest 10 percent, by contrast, initially spotted a more youthful woman peering over her right shoulder.

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8. Vase or silhouettes?

This is Vase Ambiguous Figure, devised by Danish philosopher and psychologist Edgar John Rubin in 1915. You may also know it as Rubin’s Face or Figure-Ground Vase. And those names clue you in to what you may see in the image. Do you spot a vase first, or can you see two people looking towards each other?

It’s been suggested that those who initially see a vase have the ability to see an overarching view of a situation. If that’s you, then you’re probably also someone who has little regard for detail. Those who immediately home in on the faces, however, tend to be more in tune with the finer points of matters, and so they may realize the importance of smaller actions in achieving a greater goal.

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7. Skull or woman?

This 1892 illustration by Charles Allan Gilbert is called All Is Vanity, and – depending on your perspective – you may immediately notice either a foreboding skull or a woman gazing into a mirror. What does that all mean? Well, if you see the skull to begin with, you may tend towards broad views; spot the woman first, however, and you’re likely more detail-oriented.

There are other interpretations of the illustration, however. As the woman seems to be staring at her reflection, she may be considered a little narcissistic; the skull, meanwhile, is perhaps an insinuation that we’re all the same underneath. It could be said, then, that what viewers see first is an indication of how they value themselves.

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6. How many superheroes?

What is the proper plural of Batman? Is it Batmans? Or Batmen? And while you may think there can only be one masked avenger patrolling Gotham City, there are two in this image. Or are there? Maybe you see arguably the most fearsome of superheroes, Wolverine – he of the metal claws and surly disposition – instead.

This is a more modern take on optical illusions. It’s said, you see, that those who originally spot two Batmans – or Batmen – facing each other are fans of DC Comics. Those who see the tufts of Wolverine, on the other hand, are apparently more partial to rival Marvel Comics.

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5. Lots to spot…

There are multiple symbols to be found in this image. Can you spot balloons, roses, a tilted cross, an open book, a lion, a tie, a heart and a smiley face? Well, pay attention to which you saw first, as according to website Your Tango it may reveal a lot about your personality.

Apparently, if you spotted the open book initially, you’re smart and instinctive; if it was the roses, however, you’re calm and see the virtue in everything. The tilted cross means you’re giving and faithful, while the balloons signify an upbeat nature and an active imagination. If the heart stood out, meanwhile, you’re tender and affectionate, while seeing the lion first means you’re intrepid and fearless. And the smiley face represents jocularity and optimism – in contrast to the tie, which stands for diligence and resolve.

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4. Coming or going?

The photographer Joaquim Alves Gaspar shot this image of a man in a tunnel in around 1970. As only the individual’s silhouette is visible, though, it’s impossible to tell whether he’s walking away from the lens or toward it. So, what does your interpretation say about you?

Funnily enough, there’s no definitive answer to this. It could be, though, that the observer’s point of view suggests they naturally possess either a positive or negative state of mind. Fear of people leaving is sometimes linked to anxiety, for instance. And, by contrast, perhaps those who believe the man is walking toward the camera generally have a more positive outlook on life.

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3. Woman or skull?

At first glance, you may think that this is an image of a skull. On closer inspection, though, you may also see a woman leaning forward and grasping her head between her knees. And according to The Powerful Mind, if the skull was your first pick, then you may be indecisive and lack clarity in your direction.

Conversely, if you saw the woman first, The Powerful Mind suggests that you’re defensive in your responses. You see, her posture is a very shielding one – something to which you may relate. The website explains, “The woman represents your inner regret, and [the image] could shed some light on regrets in your own life.”

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2. Color me confused…

Colors, too, can play a part in character analysis. Take this image as an example. Which shade is most prominent in your eyes – blue, yellow or turquoise? Well, yet again, your answer could give a surprising insight into your temperament.

If you see a lot of turquoise, then The Wonder List claims you’re a restless risk-taker whose imagination fuels a creative streak. Those who mostly notice the deeper blue, on the other hand, are very analytical and have perfectionist tendencies. And if yellow dominates for you, then apparently you’re both easygoing and adaptable.

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1. The elephant in the room…

At first glance, it’s fairly easy to see the silhouette of an elephant in this image. However, spend a little longer gazing at the picture, and other animals may finally reveal themselves. Can you see a cat, a dog or a mouse – maybe even a donkey? And the greater the number of creatures you spot, the more clues are revealed about your personality.

According to The Wonder List,  you’re unconcerned with details and maybe even dreamy if you can only see up to three animals. Manage between four and seven, meanwhile, and you’re more attentive – though lacking in motivation to try harder. And if you notice between eight and 13, you perhaps inevitably possess a knack for spotting details.

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Surprised at how accurate these interpretations are? Well, that’s not all we know about you. Depending on your star sign, you see, we can tell you even more about how you tick and how you live your life – including the less wholesome aspects of your psyche…

You don’t need to have majored in astrology to know about star signs and what they can supposedly tell us about our personalities. But you may not be aware that not all the traits apparently linked with your birth date are positive. Indeed, each star sign carries its own list of negative traits, too. And some are creepier than others – from Cancer’s martyrdom complex to Capricorn’s murderous fantasies.

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There are 12 star signs in all, split up along sections of the annual path that the sun appears to take as the Earth orbits it, known as the ecliptic. Think of it as a fictional line drawn across the stars, marking out eclipses and constellations. And it’s these star clusters that correlate with the zodiac signs, including Aries, Gemini and Capricorn.

Thousands of years ago, the Babylonians began using astrology to track seasons and weather patterns. Later, the Greeks and Romans employed it to predict events including wars and natural disasters. But it was the ancient Egyptians who are thought to have first used the zodiac signs, attributing various characteristics to each one.

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Indeed, these historic civilizations saw a link between the Earth’s orbit around the sun, the planets and the stars and believed that they affected humanity’s traits. The 12 signs were also divided into four subcategories – air, earth, water and fire – with each one supposedly determining a person’s finances, relationships and other circumstances.

The individual star signs, meanwhile, are all believed to be linked to personal traits, in correlation with the planets. In 2000 B.C., in fact, astrologers from Babylon thought that the five then-known planets – Saturn, Venus, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter – along with the sun and moon, all had various “powers,” such as Mars’s tendency towards war and aggression (as the red planet).

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Today, the star signs are still used in similar ways through the likes of horoscopes. By charting the movements and positions of the planets, moon and sun, along with other celestial bodies, astrologers believe that they can pinpoint a person’s characteristics and personality. Whether these theories about the star signs hold any water, however, is up for debate.

Indeed, there’s no scientific reasoning or any studies confirming either the authenticity of horoscopes, or whether the position of the stars can really tell us anything about our personalities or lives. Either way, though, the attributes that a star sign can supposedly reveal about us aren’t necessarily wholly positive. Indeed, some of them can be downright creepy…

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Aries is obsessed with death

If you’ve ever had murderous thoughts as an Aries, you’re probably not alone. In fact, it’s one of three signs associated with death, and as a fire sign, this particular association is “death by fire.” Rather than wanting to burn everyone, though, Aries’ apparent predilection for flames is simply a yearning to be cleansed, so you can purify those nasty thoughts with some meditation.

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Taurus is a stalker

Hell hath no fury like a Taurus scorned – at least according to Stella Hyde, author of Darkside Zodiac. Indeed, the writer claims that Taurus-born folks are more likely to take rejection badly. And when you can’t move on, you cling on – even to what you don’t have. Even something as seemingly benign as following an ex-partner on social media can easily translate into stalking.

Gemini is a liar

The world isn’t black and white – as Geminis are well aware – and apparently, they often use that point to twist the truth whenever they can. In fact, sometimes a Gemini may be so invested in their own version of the truth that they don’t actually realize that they’re being deceitful.

Cancer has a martyrdom complex

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Cancer’s “shadow side,” as astrologer Genevieve Vierling writes, can lend bearers of the star sign to hold deep grudges over emotional slights, which in turn leads to what is ostensibly a martyrdom complex. Essentially, Cancers may get bogged down with the feeling that they’re always making sacrifices for others – and so, they are in turn owed something.

Leo is dominating

Like all star signs, Leos share a few negative traits, but the one that’s perhaps the creepiest is their dominating side. Indeed, they’re keen to be the ones in control, and therefore naturally expect that everyone else will follow their decisions. Which, of course, isn’t a trait that everyone is going to be on board with…

Virgo is a sexual fantasist

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While Virgos may appear to be wholesome and pure on the surface, bubbling below is a fiery, untamed beast – at least when it comes to the bedroom. Yes, Virgos are apparently known for harboring some pretty twisted sexual fantasies. However, they likely won’t act on them – unless, of course, they meet the perfect person…

Libra is obsessed with motives

Knowing the reasons why people do the things they do isn’t inherently creepy – until it turns into an obsession, that is. Indeed, Libras are said to be known for scouring the internet to learn about the deepest and darkest ebbs of humanity. Let’s just hope that nobody ever checks their search history…

Scorpio has violent fantasies

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Many of us are prone to unwelcome thoughts – in this case, an involuntary urge to do something dreadful – but it’s Scorpios who are apparently particularly disposed to these violent fantasies. And while they may never actually follow through with them, the fact remains that they’re always there.

Sagittarius flees from problems

Sometimes, being truly “free” isn’t necessarily a good thing. Just ask a Sagittarius. After all, the star sign may be linked to a burning desire for freedom, but that also includes being free from responsibility. And that means that a Sagittarius is far more likely to run away from their problems.

Capricorn has murderous fantasies

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Don’t get us wrong – Capricorns aren’t wandering around hoping to bump off everyone they know just for fun. Indeed, their murderous fantasies are actually linked to their desire to succeed in life, no matter the cost. Thankfully, they don’t really intend to go through with it – but they do love planning it out.

Aquarius dreams up eulogies

If Capricorns are strange for having murderous fantasies, they have nothing on those born into the sign of the water bearer. Indeed, an Aquarius will apparently spend their time thinking of what they’d say at your funeral. Fortunately, it’s not because they’re planning to kill you – it’s simply one of the only ways that they can imagine expressing their own emotions.

Pisces has a superhero complex

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Being highly empathetic isn’t always a good thing, as any Pisces will likely tell you. After all, while it can inspire others to display the same affection, it can also make seeing people in pain even harder. And to that end, members of this particular star sign are known for wanting to save everyone – even if it means risking their own wellbeing.

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