What colour exactly?

It’s amazing what tricks your brain can play on you. I’m pretty sure that the diamond being moved around in this video has just one colour. But, as this optical illusion demonstrates, the brain likes to see order and pattern in the world around it and so it recolours the diamond cut out for you so that it fits into its perception of what the world should look like…. what else is it doing for me?!

Thanks to John Nack for this.


7 thoughts on “What colour exactly?”

  1. I watched this so many times and I still can’t figure it out. It might be one colour but I think it might be shades of grey and perhaps that’s what causes the illusion. There’s a little stalk at the top right of the diamond and can’t help thinking that must play into it somehow but maybe that’s there to distract us!

    Thanks for keeping me up so late. Sod UKIDDS, I need to know how this is done!



  2. After another viewing I think that stalk is important. I don’t know why but watch it when the diamond is moved – the stalk turns from a, er, stalk, into a shadow, and I bet that has something to do with it.

    In the meantime my brain hurts.



    1. Sorry Tom, I can’t see the stalk. I think that the top of the diamond has been turned up a bit so that it can be moved smoothly across and off/on the other bits of paper diamonds. That’s why it’s casting shadow.

      Your brain is hurting because you have entered into a duel with it…. knowing your brain, I think it’s going to win…


    1. Oh my! You’re right, there’s another level to this! All the diamonds are actually exactly the same! i didn’t realise that. And then when you arrange them like this the top row looks darker than the bottom row! Wow!

      Seeing it change in real time is amazing.


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