Orbison illusion

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Orbison illusion consisting of a square placed over radial lines.

The Orbison illusion (or Orbison's illusion) is an optical illusion first described by American psychologist William Orbison (1912–1952)[1] in 1939.

The illusion consists of a two dimensional figure, such as a circle or square, superimposed over a background of radial lines or concentric circles. The result is an optical illusion in which both the figure and the rectangle which contains it appear to distorted; in particular, squares appear slightly bulged, circles appear elliptical, and the containing rectangle appears tilted.[2][3]


  1. ^ Roeckelein, Jon E. (2006). Elsevier's Dictionary of Psychological Theories. Amsterdam: Elsevier. p. 651. ISBN 9780444517500. 
  2. ^ "Orbison illusion". newworldencyclopedia.org. New World Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 30, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Orbison illusion". opticalillusions.info. Retrieved June 30, 2016. 
  • Fineman, Mark (1996). The Nature of Visual Illusion. Dover Publications. pp. 152–153. ISBN 0486291057. 
  • Robinson, J.O. (1998). The Psychology of Visual Illusion. Dover Publications. pp. 72–73. ISBN 978-0486404493.