Can You Outsmart This Snowflake Optical Illusion?

Michele Debczak
Good luck!
Good luck! / Jackpotjoy

If you’re looking for a distraction from your growing holiday to-do list, this optical illusion should do the trick. The illustration shows an arrangement of red and white snowflakes against a wintry background. The scene may seem simple enough, but if you study it closely, you’ll find more than meets the eye. To outsmart the illusion, you first need to forget the saying that no two snowflakes are alike.

Jackpotjoy released this festive brainteaser in celebration of the holiday season. According to the creators, 80 percent of people who see the image mistakenly think the red snowflake on the right is larger than the red snowflake on the left. If you measure both figures, you’ll see that they’re exactly the same size despite how they appear initially.

Snowflake optical illusion.

This illusion takes advantage of the Ebbinghaus effect. Because the white snowflakes are bigger and farther away from the red snowflake on the left, we perceive it as being smaller than it really is. The opposite is true for the red snowflake on the right, which is surrounded by a tight cluster of smaller white snowflakes. We interpret the size of the shapes relative to their surroundings, but if you cover up the white snowflakes, you’ll perceive the sizes more accurately.

Even if you know how the illusion works, you may struggle to see past it. Try staring at the image above until you see that the two snowflakes are identical. If this brainteaser has you stumped, you may have an easier time with this holiday-themed hidden image search.