What if I told you that the photo above is actually not a black and white photo, it is in full color and it is your brains which is limiting you from seeing it in all its glory? Of course this is not actually the case, this photo is black and white, but this trick can make you see it in full color and explain how human color perception works in the process. hit the jump and follow the instruction in the film.
So what is actually happening here? How come the photo is converting to color after seeing an inverted image of it for a while. It all has to do with how our eyes work.
While the eye seems like some sort of a jelly marble it is actually made of millions of light receptors – cones, some respond to brightness and some respond to color and these are the ones that we are manipulation in this experiment.
We have three color reception cones in our eyes: blue, green and red. When we bombard the cones with a certain color, they adapt by lowering their sensitivity to that color. (think how the camera always exposes to gray 16). Once the sensitivity of a certain color goes down, it is subtracted from the image we see. For example, if we over saturate the blue cones, and look at a white plate, we will “see” white after some blue is subtracted, leaving it to green and red cones.
If color if of your interest, you should catch Colour: The Spectrum of Science by the BBC, which is where this clip is taken from.