Neuroscientist Patrick Cavanagh says that “It’s really important to understand we’re not seeing reality.” What we’re seeing instead is “a story that’s being created for us.” In most cases, our brains generate stories that match the physical world, but as we see below in the post, that’s not always the case.

So what if it sees not what there is, but quite literally what we tell it to see? ‘Misleading Thumbnails,’ a subreddit community that shares misleading titles added to images, completely changing what our brain sees in them, may have some answers.

“Not always what you think,” states their slogan, so you get the idea. Let’s get ready to be bamboozled and be sure to check out our previous post with more pictures with misleading thumbnails.

#1

Person Running Through The Snow

Person Running Through The Snow

Sap0ten Report

Delboy
Community Member
3 months ago

this is the only one that actually worked...

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#2

Broken Chair

Broken Chair

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Shona
Community Member
3 months ago

prince of darkness...

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#3

Musical Notes

Musical Notes

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Aahzmandus Pervect
Community Member
3 months ago

Someone should play this.

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“As humans, we’re fascinated by optical illusions both because they are a symbol of human creativity and because they demonstrate just how good we are at flexible thinking,” Lisa Yaszek told Bored Panda. Lisa is a Regents Professor of Science Fiction Studies at Georgia Tech where she researches and teaches science fiction as a global language crossing centuries, continents, and cultures.

There is something inherently pleasing about the ability to perceive an image in different ways, argued Lisa, and she wondered if it’s “perhaps it’s part of our natural aptitude for learning.”

“Whatever the source of our love for optical illusions, it’s fascinating to note that the desire to create optical illusions seems to be as old as humanity itself. The prehistoric artists who decorated the Cave of Altima 20,000 years ago used the natural bulges in the rock walls of the cave to give volume and depth to the animals they drew there; the Greek-Egyptian inventor Heron of Alexandria (10CE-70AD) engineered a device that made it look like priests could open temple doors with verbal commands; and the Airavatesvara Temple in India is covered in 800+ year old carvings of animals that change species when viewed from different angles.”

#4

Rare Madagascar Spider

Rare Madagascar Spider

TheJokr Report

LesAnimaux
Community Member
3 months ago

He likes to move it move it

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#5

A Close-Up Photo Of My Sewing Needle Collection

A Close-Up Photo Of My Sewing Needle Collection

WeAreClouds Report

Robert T
Community Member
3 months ago

I spotted what it was quite quickly, but it really does look like sewing needles.

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#6

Baby Deer Chilling On A Chair

Baby Deer Chilling On A Chair

ricrdvc Report

third molar
Community Member
3 months ago

Baby deer doesnt like to be disturbed

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The professor said that it’s no surprise that we are in a moment of renewed fascination with optical illusions, as the above examples suggest. “Whenever people invent new creative or technical processes, they use them to create optical illusions! Indeed, we’ve seen this throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: pioneering filmmakers like George Melies drew on vaudeville stagecraft and scratched and painted on celluloid to create the first filmic special effects; Op artists Josef Albers and Bridgette Riley manipulated geometric forms on canvas to convince the eye that unreal spatial places existed; and today we have digital technologies that allow us to radically transform the scale and presentation of images in sometimes truly mind-blowing ways, as we see in these images from the 'Misleading Thumbnails' subreddit community!”

#7

This Guy Has A Massive Afro

This Guy Has A Massive Afro

sleeplessaddict Report

IlovemydogShilo
Community Member
3 months ago

My Dad circa 1978. Seriously.

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#8

My Pet Pinecone

My Pet Pinecone

rivkinnator Report

third molar
Community Member
3 months ago

This may be an intentional trick by evolution

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#9

Bring Your Child To Work Day

Bring Your Child To Work Day

flycreature75 Report

JB Darré
Community Member
3 months ago

or bring your mini-me to work day

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#10

Screaming Human Heads

Screaming Human Heads

rivkinnator Report

Night Owl
Community Member
3 months ago

Screaming because of the smell

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“Of course, there is one difference between earlier optical illusion artists and the ones featured on this subreddit,” Lisa noted and continued: “the former were intentional about creating their optical illusions, while the ones featured on this subreddit probably didn’t mean, for instance, to make a group of adorable puppies look like fried chicken.”

“Having said that—these accidental optical illusions give the members of this subreddit community a chance to become artists themselves by posting the misleading thumbnails and images online so that others can delight in the illusion with them,” she concluded.

#11

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

OwenJthomas89 Report

Narwhal Blast
Community Member
3 months ago

Omg give me some!!!

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#12

Water Waste Disposal

Water Waste Disposal

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Community Member
3 months ago

FOAMY

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#13

This Flawless Egg

This Flawless Egg

Friggin_Bobandy Report

Shona
Community Member
3 months ago

i thought it really was an egg for a while...

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#14

This Little Frog Hiding Out In A Birdhouse...

This Little Frog Hiding Out In A Birdhouse...

yellayahmar Report

Petra, princess of Brigid
Community Member
3 months ago

Aww! Cute little bubble frog!

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Previously, Bored Panda spoke with the moderator team of the Misleading Thumbnails subreddit, who shared some insights on their community. The moderator u/pajam said that r/misleadingthumbnails was created by a user named Noot 9 years ago when he was “scrolling through Reddit and came across this thumbnail.”

The creator couldn't imagine this not being some sort of NSFW image, but then when he opened it and saw the full-size image, he realized it was just a baby pig between two other pigs. “So he was misled by the thumbnail, and thought it was a unique experience blending optical illusions with a sort of 'mind-blown' experience.”

At that point, they realized there was no similar subreddit like this, and the Misleading Thumbnails subreddit was born. Since its creation in 2011, the subreddit is home to 492k members, or as they call them ‘’bamboozled ones.’’

#15

Microscopic View Of A Flesh Eating Maggot

Microscopic View Of A Flesh Eating Maggot

shizney1 Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

Nope I just see toe beans! 😍

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#16

Got My Shiny Blue Ball Stuck In A Tree

Got My Shiny Blue Ball Stuck In A Tree

TheGameLord_YT Report

Kinslee the witches apprentice
Community Member
3 months ago

It took me a minute lol

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#17

My Hand After Gardening

My Hand After Gardening

Golf911 Report

Charlotte A.
Community Member
3 months ago

Might work better if you couldn't see the other hand....

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#18

Cheeseburger Without Bread

Cheeseburger Without Bread

MrCheesLlams Report

Night Owl
Community Member
3 months ago

I hope the frog is named Cheeseburger

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See Also on Bored Panda

However, the evolution of the subreddit has become somewhat “frustrating” since Reddit changed its default design. The moderator explained that it used to include thumbnails for every single post, which was normal practice for over a decade.

After there were no thumbnails left, the Misleading Thumbnails made fewer sense with the new design. “New Reddit has made 'Card View' the default view for new users, thus those users won't see any thumbnails whatsoever unless they actively switch to 'Classic View' or change their settings to use the 'Old Reddit' design.”

This proved to be a particular frustration to new members who struggled to get the concept of the whole subreddit. The moderator explained that new viewers would instead treat it like the plethora of other 'Misleading Images' subreddits (/r/Pareidolia, /r/confusing_perspective, /r/forbiddensnacks, etc.). And that wasn’t its original idea.

#19

This Throw-Blanket On A Couch

This Throw-Blanket On A Couch

dangusted Report

Caro Caro
Community Member
3 months ago

Stop breeding these dogs.

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#20

Succulent

Succulent

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Danielle Wigger
Community Member
3 months ago

The most beautiful succulent of all!

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#21

The Clearest Water In The World

The Clearest Water In The World

I_AM_NOT_MAD Report

BlackPearltheSeaWing/NightWing
Community Member
3 months ago

That's a pretty terrible tan line. How?

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#22

Woman Licking Baby's Head

Woman Licking Baby's Head

sirfool Report

Vic
Community Member
3 months ago

Correction: Woman licking baby's hat.

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But the moderator said their community stays positive. After all, Misleading Thumbnails still has a lot of redditors who prefer the old Reddit design as “most users were redditors before the redesign” and “they are passionate users about keeping the subreddit true to its roots.” The new ones, though, find the subreddit appealing for different reasons, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting.

#23

Vibrant Sandals

Vibrant Sandals

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TmKhr
Community Member
3 months ago

Fashion these days...

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#24

A Nug Of Weed

A Nug Of Weed

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Luther von Wolfen
Community Member
3 months ago

These would all work better if l took my glasses off.

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#25

Frozen Turkeys

Frozen Turkeys

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Caro Caro
Community Member
3 months ago

OMG I want to be there napping with these puppers.

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#26

Pulled Teeth

Pulled Teeth

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Nik
Community Member
3 months ago

oh god I cant unsee that

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Misleading Thumbnails gets an average of 1 to 30 posts a day, and according to the mod team, their content is limited and comes in waves, “as it relies on random chance.”

Turns out, you can never guess “what images will end up looking different when it gets shrunk down to Reddit's thumbnail size.” However, when it happens, it's a pleasant surprise for everyone, and “we'd love people to share those posts here.”

#27

Squid Ink Dough vs. Normal Dough

Squid Ink Dough vs. Normal Dough

PM_YOUR_BEST_JOKES Report

Kinslee the witches apprentice
Community Member
3 months ago

Liquid cats

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#28

After Double Amputee Surgery, Woman Caresses What’s Left Of Her Legs

After Double Amputee Surgery, Woman Caresses What’s Left Of Her Legs

howdy77777 Report

Ms. Nomnomz
Community Member
3 months ago

Lieutenant Dan post reassignment surgery

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#29

New Daft Punk Member

New Daft Punk Member

cid03 Report

Robert Thomas
Community Member
3 months ago

HARDER BETTER FASTER STRONGER.........BURGER NUGGET NUGGET BURGER

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When it comes to the meaning of “Misleading Thumbnails,” u/pajam explained that it refers to “the experience of scrolling through Reddit, browsing the post titles and thumbnails... then seeing a thumbnail that your brain can't imagine could be anything else besides what it assumes it is looking at.”

The idea is that when you click on the post to see its full size, you get really confused. The mod explained this feeling: “your mind gets blown as the image looks entirely different now.” Somehow the act of shrinking the image down to the size of a tiny Reddit thumbnail unexpectedly causes a unique optical illusion. Add a misleading title to it, and you get your brain seeing things that weren't ever there.

#30

Lost Black Handbag Found At The Beach

Lost Black Handbag Found At The Beach

QuietTwiddler24 Report

Monty Is Fiennes
Community Member
3 months ago

Wow ... no wonder those things seem creepy....

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Note: this post originally had 97 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.