You may have wondered how optical illusions work because there are so many articles on social media about images that trick the mind.
One of these pictures is the one in this article; only 1% of people can figure out what it is. The picture is supposed to show a panda, which only a small number of people can see.
This trick on the mind is called the McCollough effect. After a few minutes of looking at a coloured grating, your brain will see pink or other colors in the black and white stripes.
If you tilt your head 90 degrees, the effect can either get better or get worse. By rotating the induction images, the effect can be turned around. Also, the effect will last longer if you look at the induction images more often.
This is called a “afterimage” because the stimulus is gone, but the sight is still there. Scientists say it happens because our visual system is always being used.
Strong colours have a bigger effect on the way we see. They trick it into thinking that you can still see colours even though they aren’t there.
The same happens when a camera flash stays in sight, even when the eyes are closed.
The Journal of Experimental Psychology said that if a person looks at the colourful gratings for a long time, the effect can last more than three months.
The US psychologist Celeste McCollough Howard found this effect. She is also the one who gave it its name.
He called the effect a “contingent aftereffect,” which is an illusion that lasts for a long time in the brain.
Use the pictures below to try it out for yourself (the test is not harmful; it will affect your vision only for a while).
Scientists want to know why this effect happens, and some think it has something to do with the neurons in the visual cortex. Other experts say the brain is stuck because it is trying to fix the world’s colours. Another group says it’s like a symptom of withdrawal or a lack of colour.
A person with a lot of damage to their brain was used in an experiment.
This 1995 study said the effect worked with red-and-green and black-and-white gratings. This led researchers to think that the effect happens in the visual cortex. This research is right, says Julien Ciroux.
If you look at the centre of each of the two induction images for a few minutes and then switch to the other side, the effect will be triggered. When you look at this picture again, you’ll be able to see parts that are red, green, or pink.
Researchers showed that the red and green stripes made an afterimage and that if the induction image is green, the person will see red colours on vertical grates and green colours on horizontal grates. When a red induction image was used, the colours switched places. This can only happen with the colours red and green.
If you want this effect, be careful with long durations because they can hurt your eyes.
Dangerous is the McCollough Effect
Scientists warn that this effect, which involves looking at pictures of vertical and horizontal lines, could make you see white and black as green and red for up to three and a half months.
People who have tried it out on the Internet have had different feelings about it. Some people find this to be the most mind-blowing thing they’ve ever done, and they
Another bad thing was getting a terrible headache from staring at the lines for 5 minutes.
But if you want to get rid of the effect, experts say you have to look at the original coloured images again for half as long as you did the first time, but this time you have to turn them 90 degrees the other way.
What’s going on in the brain when you see an optical illusion?
People’s ideas about the world are based on how they interpret what they see. Optical illusions happen when people’s brains try to make sense of what they see and understand the world around them. In optical illusions, people trick the brain into seeing things that may or may not be real.
Using the McCollough Effect to learn about visual tricks
Scientists have paid attention to the McCollough Effect and are especially interested in finding out who it affects the most.
Those who also want to study can find what they need and how to do the experiment below.
Online demonstration of the McCollough effect
Notebook in which are results recorded
Recruit many people (different genders) in a variety of age groups.
Ask them to look at the online animation for exactly seven minutes. This is supposed to make the McCollough effect happen.
Then, start your stopwatch and ask the person being tested to tell you when the McCollough effect has stopped working.
Still, the time is being kept and notes are being made, with a focus on the age and gender of the subject.
Steps 2–4 should be done again and again for each person.
Answer the questions by looking at the results.
How long did the McCollough effect last on average for both men and women tested?
How long did the McCollough effect last on average in people younger than 30 and older than 30?
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