The Connectedness Illusion: In Which Group Are There More Circles?

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If you said the group on the left, then you’ve just experienced the “connectedness illusion” that causes viewers to underestimate the number of circles in a group.

Researchers at the Brain and Mind Institute at the University of Western Ontario presented two groups of circles. In one group are connected to tiny lines but the circles aren’t connected to each other. In the other group, the circles are connected to each other via lines.

What consistently happens is that people perceived less circles in the connected group than in the disconnected group, even though the number of circles in both groups is exactly the same.

A metaphysical way of looking at this to that when faced with a whole range of problems we can get overwhelmed. 

However if you can make a connection between one problem and another, demonstrated by joining on circle to another in the diagram, you may find that even though the number of problems (circles) remains the same, you perceive that there are less of them.

This in turn reduces your stress levels by reducing the feeling of being overwhelmed.