People have become obsessed with an adorable cartoon that features a panda hidden among a bunch of snowmen.
The image, created by Hungarian cartoonist Gergely Dudas (aka Dudolf), was first posted on Facebook on Dec. 16. It quickly blew up, earning more than 75,000 likes and 145,000 shares.
Now, the cartoon is making the rounds on Twitter and Facebook, where people are either gloating that they could spot the panda ASAP or lamenting about how long it took:
Licensed clinical psychologist Erika Martinez, PsyD, tells Yahoo Health that while the picture’s cuteness definitely helps, the brain-teaser aspect tends to suck us in.
“Pictures like this force us to shift perspective out of our comfort zone,” she says. “It’s something that is so obviously in front of us, but it’s still difficult to see.”
It’s also just human nature to want to rise to the challenge, licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, PsyD, tells Yahoo Health. “Thanks to our dopamine circuits in the brain, if we perceive a reward, however small, we are more likely to engage,” she says. That’s especially true when we’re tired or stressed, she says, since we often need a pick-me-up or little reward to boost our mood.
Throw a little competitive spirit into the mix and we want to take the challenge, be great at it, and … maybe brag a little.
But clinical psychologist John Mayer, PhD, tells Yahoo Health that people who are boasting about their ability to find the panda in seconds aren’t necessarily gloating — they’re just reveling in the fun. “This is a solitary endeavor and our reward comes from sharing our accomplishment,” he says.
Of course, not everyone can find the panda easily. Clark says the puzzle is deceptively difficult, since it looks simple, yet requires a more detailed look (while most of us are used to skimming things online).
But whether you found the panda in seconds or are still looking, experts agree that it’s all in good fun — and good for your brain.
Did you find the panda?