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Psychologist shares optical illusion that turns a black and white image into colour


Psychologist shares optical illusion that tricks your brain into seeing colour on a black and white image – but does it work for YOU?

  • Psychologist Dr Julie Smith took to TikTok to share video where she tricks brain 
  • Hampshire-based psychologist tells viewers to keep eyes on a cross on her head 
  • Viewers watch saturated filter before video switches back to black and white 
  • Brain sees colour when there isn’t any which is called a ‘negative after image’ 

A mind-boggling optical illusion tricks you into seeing colour in a black-and-white image by overexposing certain receptors in the eyes.

Psychologist Dr Julie Smith, who has a practice in Ringwood, Hampshire, took to TikTok to share the confusing video that tricks the brain into seeing colour when there isn’t any. 

In the clip, which begins in black and white, she has a cross placed on her forehead, which she urges viewers to keep their eyes on, as she sits in the garden surrounded by children’s toys.

The image then flips from black and white to a very saturated filter which exposes some areas in bright green, blue and purple shades. 

Urging viewers to keep their eyes on the cross, Dr Julie – who boasts 2.8 million followers – says that when the video starts to replay in black and white, they will be able to see colour, prompting a mixed reaction from viewers. 

Some were blown away by the trick and said they could see multiple shades, although others claimed it hadn’t worked for them.  

A mind-boggling optical illusion tricks you into seeing colour in a black-and-white image and social media users are so confused 

Dr Julie explains how the experiment works at the start of the clip, saying: ‘Now this video is in black and white, but when you play it back it will be in full colour. 

‘Your brain is going to do something incredible. Overexposing certain receptors in your eyes to colours causes the brain to see inverted colours when the black and white image appears.

‘Even when it changes, keep focusing on the cross. Are you ready?’

As she’s explaining the clip turns from black and white to a very saturated filter which exposes some areas in bright green, blue and purple shades.  

Psychologist Dr Julie Smith took to TikTok to share the video where she tricks the brain into seeing colour when there isn't any

Psychologist Dr Julie Smith took to TikTok to share the video where she tricks the brain into seeing colour when there isn’t any

When you watch the video again, Julie says the black and white image should appear in full colour and it's blowing people's minds

When you watch the video again, Julie says the black and white image should appear in full colour and it’s blowing people’s minds

When you watch the video again, Julie says the black and white image should appear in full colour, explaining that this is called a ‘negative after image’.  

One said: ‘Uh oh. I think my brain is broken.’

Another wrote: ‘That freaked me out so bad! As long as I kept focusing on the x I saw colour for almost the entire black and white part.’ 

Dr Julie penned: ‘Did you see colour? How long for & what stood out most? Try it with the brightness turned up for max effect!’

However some users were unable to see the illusion, noting that the colours were just a bit more dull and some asked if their brain wasn't working if it didn't work for them

However some users were unable to see the illusion, noting that the colours were just a bit more dull and some asked if their brain wasn’t working if it didn’t work for them 

A third user added: ‘Ur tops pink that’s all I saw’, which seemed to impress Dr Julie, who replied with a raised hand emoji.   

However some users were unable to see the illusion, noting that the colours were just a bit more dull.

One wrote: ‘I did for a second but it was really dulled out’, while another said: ‘Sorry didn’t work for me.’ 

A third added: ‘If it doesn’t work for me is something wrong with my brain lol’.  

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