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What's The Science Behind Optical Illusions?

author

Tom Hale

author

Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

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.

Senior Journalist

AsapSCIENCE/YouTube

Have you ever seen the optical illusion that suddenly brings a black and white image into full color using just the power of your eyes? It’s a thing called “after-imaging” and you can see it in the video below, all beautifully explained by the guys from AsapSCIENCE.

It's all to do with the three color-sensing cone cells in the retina of the eye, each of which is sensitive to different wavelengths of light: blue, green, and red. However, these cells can pick up 2.3 million different combinations of them – a little bit like printer inks. But just like printers, when colors start to “run out”, there can be some adverse effects.

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There’s a huge amount of science behind our relationship with color and vision, bringing in everything from physics, biochemistry, and evolutionary biology – and optical illusions are a great way to demonstrate it. Check out the video to hear all about it.


ARTICLE POSTED IN

  • tag
  • retina,

  • video,

  • vision,

  • optical illusion,

  • eye,

  • cone cells

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