Optical Illusion: This Photo Is Actually Black And White!

British researcher Andrew Steele has created an optical illusion that allows the brain to ‘re-colour’ a black and white photo.

Optical Illusion: This Photo Is Actually Black And White!
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Chromatic adaptation

Here’s an experiment: focus on the black dot at the centre of the image. According to Andrew Steele, you have to try not to blink or stare at anything other than the dot at the centre.

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In the short video above, there is a photo with very saturated colours like orange, purple and blue. Then, as if by magic, when the same photo appears but in black and white, you will see it in colour again!

This phenomenon is called chromatic adaptation and it is caused by the human eye’s ability to adjust and adapt to light changes in order to preserve the appearance of object colours. In other words, whether you’re looking at a banana in direct sunlight or in the dark, you will always perceive it as yellow.

In addition, the colours chosen (orange, purple and blue) also have an almost burnt-in after effect. The eye ‘memorises’ the colours it has just seen and replaces them with complementary colours for a few seconds. This mostly happens when you stare at a bright light or at an object with bright, intense colours and then stare at a white wall.

This optical illusion is quite similar to those created by Øyvind Kolås.