An optical illusion bouncing around social media has viewers seeing color where there isn’t any.
The project was created by Akiyoshi Kitaoka. He’s an experimental psychologist and a Professor of Psychology at Risumeikan University in Japan who often shares his work on social media. On Tuesday evening, he tweeted what appeared to be a filtered photo of a plate of strawberries.
While many claimed that the strawberries appeared to have a normal, reddish hue, Kitaoka claimed the photo contained no red pixels.
“Strawberries appear to be reddish, though the pixels are not,” he wrote.
Strawberries appear to be reddish, though the pixels are not. pic.twitter.com/Ginyhf61F7
— Akiyoshi Kitaoka (@AkiyoshiKitaoka) February 28, 2017
While many Twitter users insisted that the photo must contain some red pixels, Twitter user Carson Mell isolated the colors in the photo to demonstrate that the strawberries really were made up of gray and greenish pixels.
@social_brains I isolated a few of the colors that appear most "red" in the strawberries and put them on the white background to the right. pic.twitter.com/GJJ9PJqNxt
— Carson Mell (@carsonmell) February 28, 2017
According to Vice, the illusion works under the same principle that drove the infamous “Dress” meme of Feb. 2015. — color constancy. It’s the brain’s way of color-correcting objects seen under a strange light.
While the dress allowed different people to either see either gold and white or blue and brown, almost everyone sees the strawberries as red because human brains are wired to see the fruit as red.
The photo may trick the eye into seeing what’s not there, at least the internet is united.
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.