How Many Colors Can You See In This Spiraling Optical Illusion?


Tom Hale

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

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556 How Many Colors Can You See In This Spiraling Optical Illusion?
Akiyoshi Kitaoka/Ritsumeikan University

Put Photoshop away and get ready for a migraine. Can you work out how many colors are used in this spiraling image?

It may seem like a simple answer but your fickle senses and perception might be playing a trick on you.


The image was created by Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a Professor of Psychology at Ritsumeikan University in Japan. He uses a principle behind what’s known as the White's illusion or Munker's illusion, whereby stripes are used to distort our sense of color and opacity.

Essentially, it plays with how our perception processes visual information and its tendency to be influenced by its surroundings and context.

Head over to Kitaoka’s website for many more optical illusions. The answer to how many colors there are is below this image.

AKiyoshi Kitaoka/Ritsumeikan University


The correct answer is actually three: pink, orange, and green. While it may appear there is also a sky blue in the mix, it is the same color as the green spiral.


  • tag
  • color,

  • The Brain,

  • optical illusion,

  • perception