10 more optical illusions better than The Dress


1 Like

That spinning woman one is a bit unnerving. I can’t get the direction to change by concentrating, but the moment I blink, my brain seems to reset its interpretation and suddenly she’s going the other way.

If it hasn’t been done already, someone needs to make a whole unlabeled website of false optical illusions.

“Notice the rippling waves in this pattern? They’re not actually moving–it’s an illusion!”
“Then why is the file a 3 MB .gif?”


I don’t get what is “better” about these illusions. The coolest thing about the dress is not that people saw it as different colors than it is, but that different people perceived it completely differently and were absolutely certain that they were perceiving it correctly. That’s rare if not unique for illusions.


For me the coolest thing about “the dress” was that the people who perceived white and gold were the ones interpreting the color data in the image closest to what it really was. The people who perceived blue and black were the ones experiencing an optical illusion – the illusion just happened to correspond to the pigments used in the dress in real life.

Nope. Those are good. The dress is better. It is so ordinary, so banal that the illusion is totally un-expected.

When I first saw it it was clearly brownish gold and either white or light lavender - which I verified in Photoshop. So when I looked at it again the same day, and it was black and blue, it was completely freaky. I thought someone might have swapped the image or made one of those slow animated GIFs - it’s just that powerful.


I think what was great about “The Dress” is that it was not an “optical illusion.” It was something that got posted and shared and everyone went “woah!” Real optical illusions we tend to dismiss because they are published in a book of optical illusions or on a website and we already know something weird is going to happen; in fact, it was probably designed to create this effect.

Graphic designers know that people perceive color differently and that the same color can vary in appearance on monitors, but finding something that went from white to black and from gold to blue was dramatic.


It is totally an “optical illusion”. It is a color constancy illusion.

That’s equivalent to saying “when I perceive my blue shirt as being blue in the sunset, I’m experience an optical illusion.”

You could call it “optical illusion” if you want, but that seems a little silly because perceiving your shirt as being blue, even if the light is different, is correct.

Rather than an optical illusion, what it really is is color constancy, the completely-correct and extremely-necessary way that we perceive colors. No perception in the brain is done like a bitmapped image – all perception is processing. And color constancy is an important piece of processing that every one of us do every single time we look at anything at all.

The people who saw blue and black were “correct,” because their brain processed the scene correctly. And the people who saw white and gold were “incorrect” because their brain processed the scene incorrectly.

Regular optical illusions are about tricking your brain into seeing something that is verifiably wrong, like the moving image.

Color constancy optical illusions are kind of the groaner ones, because our brain simply sees them the way they would be if it were a real scene. If that Rubix Cube were a photograph of a real-world object, that front square really would be orange when you turned on a white light. It would not be brown.

(That’s not to say color constancy illusions aren’t interesting, because they do teach you about human vision. But it’s not really “tricking” the brain to say that a color under shadow ought to look different — it does.)

Due to the structure of your eyes rods and cones (retina rods and cornea/Coriolis cones) and this pattern appears to be slowly rotating at the speed of the earth’s rotation.

Although it may be impossible to believe, the squares marked A and B are actually exactly the same shade of grey.

etc. from http://optillusions.tumblr.com/image/39479449294


The dress is an excellent example of an optical illusion, one that is based on our color constancy perception.

I say strongly that viewing the dress as being blue and black is not an illusion.

What color is this shirt?

If you said that the shirt is “white”, you’re wrong. It’s an illuuuuusion. That shirt is a shade of light violet.

Wait, what? That’s dumb. It’s not an optical illusion to say that you see that shirt as white: That shirt is white. Yes, you see it as white because of the way your brain processes the image, it’s true, but it’s silly to say that the shirt being white is an “optical illusion.” You see the shirt as white because it is.

Likewise for correctly seeing a blue and black dress as blue and black.

(Viewing the dress as white and gold is an optical illusion, I would say, yes. But @pandas was saying that blue-black viewers were seeing an optical illusion.)

Which is which is irrelevant given that people see either or both - that is why the dress is an optical illusion, based on our color constancy perception.

This must be one powerful illusion in the OP, because there does not appear to be an orange square on the front face, or on any other part of the cube.

Years ago I did a series of images like that. Like the rail road illusion, but making the lines look the same length (though they weren’t). Making the gray rectangles in one column look the same shade as the other column.

That and a series of topological puzzles that are impossible to solve … just doing my Happy Mutant duty :slight_smile:

What I love about same-color illusions is that they survive the cross-eye test: you cross your eyes to overlay the two colors and they still appear to be different, even when visually they are adjacent or even overlaid. That tells me that the visual processing that handles color-shifting for lighting conditions, happens before the conscious “seeing” and comparison of colors.

To me, the whole dress thing seems like a pseudo-conundrum based on ambiguous semantics. The shirt may be white, but the image of the shirt definitely is not.

It’s how you interpret the question “What color is this shirt?”. When looking at this image, we suspect that this particular shirt, given the lighting conditions of the photo, would be perceived as white were we able to assess its color in person. The image of the shirt, however, is a light grey with a violet cast. But to answer the question, we must first decide whether it’s inquiring about the color of the actual shirt or the color of the image of the shirt.

Those who automatically saw the dress as white and gold were likely making a similar automatic contextual adjustment. Their answer “The dress is white and gold” is a metaphysical statement about the dress, not a perceptual one.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.