Optical Illusion That Makes You See Black And White Picture In Colour Goes Viral

There are many things in this world we know we can’t trust: the weather forecast, politicians, seagulls.

However, it turns out we can’t even trust our own brains, which means we’re screwed basically, doesn’t it?

Lionel Page, an economist at UTC Economics, shared an optical illusion on Saturday which has subsequently gone viral.

This illusory pic has sparked debate on Twitter. Credit: Twitter/Lionel Page/Øyvind Kolås
This illusory pic has sparked debate on Twitter. Credit: Twitter/Lionel Page/Øyvind Kolås

The picture is of some youths gathered around some sort of turtley/terrapiny looking creature (I’m not sure what exactly it is, but it’s got nothing to do with the illusion, OK). What’s so intriguing about it, is the fact the photo is black and white, yet coloured grid lines placed over the top of the picture make whole areas appear as though they are in colour.

Mr Page tweeted the deceptive pic with the caption: “This is a black and white photograph. Only the lines have colour.

“What you ‘see’ is what your brain predicts the reality to be, given the imperfect information it gets.”

The tweet has since been liked more than 34,000 times, with the majority of people responding with their ‘stunned’ meme of choice. However, some people also commented on the photo with actual words.

One person said: “The first time I saw this I was gobsmacked. I saw everything in colour. I come back a day later and I see a black and white photo covered in coloured lines. I guess my brain must have processed the information overnight.”

Another said: “I get a zombie movie effect. All of the clothing is coloured in (though, the red shirts look pink with red lines on top), but the faces are completely grey.”

One person even went as far as using the illusion to make a profound political point.

They said: “There’s an analogy here for politics that most people will never get.

“They all just think what they see is absolute truth and fact, but they don’t realise their brain is filling in the gaps according to their beliefs.”

Deep dude.

Others weren’t having it at all though, arguing that the effect was caused by image compression, rather than any sort of mind tricks – though Mr Page later shared a higher quality version of the picture which still seemed to have the same effect.

The reality is, we probably can’t trust our own brains – or those of your average Twitter user.

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Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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