Fechner Color Illusion #1 (linear motion)
Perceive color where there is only black and white.
Fechner Color Illusion #2
More Java applets here.
This is a Java 1.1 applet. See my Java page for Browser Requirements.
The moving pattern is drawn with black on white. But if you stare at it without letting
your eyes follow the motion, you will probably see a faint illusion of color. Part of the
pattern appears to me to be dark brown with yellowish edges. Another part appears purplish.
Different observers may see other colors.
Click the Stop button to see the true black and white.
Experiment to see what speed gives the strongest effect (use the slider control).
Click the Reverse button to reverse the motion. The colors switch.
- This animation is very effective for inducing motion sickness (similar to
the movie "The Blair Witch Project"). If you start to feel nauseous, take a break from it.
- You can use the Detach button to detach the applet into its own window. Then
you can resize it. However, large window sizes don't work very well on a slow computer.
- The behavior of the Speed Slider may be discontinuous for higher settings.
Above a certain point the animation delay is less than 18 milliseconds -- the
clock resolution of many computers.
What Other People Saw:
Go to Fechner Illusion Guestbook
I learned about this illusion (in its
rotating form) from the "Amateur Scientist" article by
C. L. Stong in the March 1971 issue of
Scientific American magazine
Stong says: "The experiment was devised by the German experimental psychologist Gustav Theodor Fechner."
After writing the rotating version, I realized that rotation is not
required. So I wrote the "linear motion" version on this page.
Copyright (c) 1999 by Mark Newbold, all rights reserved.
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