A baffling optical illusion has exploded online, with viewers unable to work out what they are seeing.

The illusion, dubbed “Super illusion brothers”, appears to show several stickmen running up a flight of stairs before jumping off.

On the far right of the screen, another figure seems to be running off.

But here comes the trick – not one of the stickmen are actually moving.

The constantly changing colour tells your brain that they’re moving.

The brainchild of Japanese optical illusion genius @jagarikin, the short gif has received more than 166,000 likes and 37,000 retweets since it was shared on November 20.

Can you work out what is going on in this optical illusion?
Can you work out what is going on in this optical illusion?

And viewers couldn’t get their head around the mind trick.

“Wow, it looks like the one in the lower right is running,” one said.

Another commented: “I watched this for like 2 minutes trying to figure out why they weren’t moving.”

The Twitter user behind the trick used was known as the “reverse-phi illusion” – which is basically how our eye sees light and dark colours.

The changing colours plays tricks on your mind
The changing colours plays tricks on your mind

A spokesperson Stanford University explained: “If a bright point appears at one position, and then reappears at a position shifted to the right, we tend to see a single object moving left to right.’

“It’s a basic effect, and one that underlies the apparently fluid motions we see in movies and animations.”

The mind trick isn’t the only optical illusion to have gone viral in recent weeks.

A tattoo fan went to extreme lengths to make it look like there is a gaping hole in his head.