Although they appear to be moving across an image with this optical illusion, in fact, the cubes are still stationary.  

Tweet shared by an enthusiast in Twitter science using the pseudonym Science GirlThis animation displays two cubes positioned next to one another on a background of blue. 

Black and white are swapped between the lines of the cube, while the cursor centre points in different directions. It makes it seem like the cubes move upwards or downwards as well as rotating and increasing in size.

Reverse Phi illusion is responsible for the illusion. This is a phenomenon where light shifts – like lines moving from black into white – trick the mind to believe something is actually in motion. 

This illusion works so well that many skeptical people couldn’t believe they could keep the cubes in place.

Reverse Phi Illusion is a natural phenomenom that takes place in human and animal perception

Because the cubes go from white, left, to black, picturd, we perceive them as moving

Science Girl shared the animation, which shows two cubes placed next to eachother on a blue background. While the lines in the cube switch between black and blue, a cursor at the center of the cube points to different directions. This gives the illusion that the cubes are rotating, growing, and moving in various directions. They are actually stationary and this illusion is just a trick of your eye.


The illusion, which has been viewed more than three million times on social media, is caused by a phenomenon called Reverse Phi Illusion, where a shift of light - as with the lines changing from black to white - tricks the mind into thinking something is in motion when it is not

Reverse Phi illusion is responsible for the illusion. This is a phenomenon where light shifts – like lines shifting from black and white – trick the mind to believe something is moving when in fact it’s not.

Researchers at the University of Stanford explained how the Reverse Phi Illusion works in 2011.

How the Reverse Phi Illusion affects perception 

The Reverse Phi illusion is a phenomena that can affect both animals and humans, but also insects like flies. 

It is possible to interpret motion as a bright spot appearing on one side and another on the other. This phenomenon is known as Phi illusion. 

The reverse Phi illusion is when a dark point becomes light. This can be interpreted as an object’moving away.

We perceive motion when two points change from dark to light repeatedly. 

Researchers at Stanford University discovered that this phenomenon was integral to our perception of movement in 2011.  

Source: Stanford University news agency. 

“When a point of light appears in one location and returns to the same position in another, then we see an object that is moving to the left. 

Scientists explained that it was a fundamental effect and underlies all fluid movements seen in animations and movies. 

“Reverse-phi illusion” is something all these animals perceive. If the second point we see is the opposite of the first – with a dark point becoming light, for example – we see motion away from the second point, rather than toward it.’ 

It can be interpreted as: When things change from dark to light, our brains perceive it as motion. 

Viewers were disoriented by the cursors at the center of the box, and tried to make Science Girl’s post invalid. 

One said, “Fake cubes move even though arrows have been covered.”

Another wrote: ‘Cover the arrows and they still look like they’re moving.’

The secret of this illusion is not in the cursors inside the cubes, but rather the color used to highlight them: black or white. 

Some individuals correctly identified the tricks. 

One wrote: “To all those who think these figures are moving, NO! You can take a piece of paper, and look at every line. 

An optical illusion based on what is called the Reverse Phi Illusion has gone viral on Twitter across the world after it was shared by a science enthusiast on Christmas day, pictured

A hologram based on the Reverse Phi illusion has been shared worldwide on Twitter by an enthusiast in science on Christmas Day.

Some people wrongly believed covering the arrows at the centre of the cubes was the was to debunk the illusion

 Some people wrongly believed covering the arrows at the centre of the cubes was the was to debunk the illusion 

Place the mouse cursor at one corner on a cube. Then, stare directly at both the cursor (and the corner) of your cursor. One wrote that the corner does not move from the cursor. 

Take a piece of newspaper and place it over your smartphone to check that the borders are still stationary. The borders are flashing in a certain way to trick your brain into thinking there’s depth. The depth you think you see is making it look like it’s moving,’ another explained. 

The way we perceive the cubes was so amazing that people believed it to be real, they were shocked.  

“And, I thought Schrodinger’s boxes were complicated. One said that this scenario didn’t have a cat and was therefore even more difficult to accept.  

‘This is the maddest thing I’ve seen on the internet. And I’ve seen a few… Am mind blown,’ another wrote.