This Photo Has No Red Pixels, So Why Do The Strawberries Look Red?


Well, we have a new color controversy on the two-year anniversary of “The Dress,” which divided people all over the world like no other picture has before. This time it’s the strawberries. They are not red, to put it simply.


This was the famous dress.

Was it blue and black, or white and gold?

Now look at this picture carefully.

If you see the strawberries in red, it means that you’re fooled by your own brain.

Because, there is not one single red pixel in this photo!.

If you want to check it out, suit yourself. But here’s a version that shows the colors in the photo. Even the parts that you see the reddest are actually grayish or greenish.

How is this even possible? The answer is "color constancy."

This photo was created by Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a Professor of Psychology at Ritsumeikan University in Japan, who specializes in creating optical illusions.

Color constancy is our brain's way of color correcting the world when it's filtered through different light.

"If you imagine walking around outside under a blue sky, that blueness is, in some sense, color-contaminating everything you see," explains Bevil Conway, an expert on visual perception from the National Eye Institute.

Color constancy doesn't just trick our minds though. It has a vital purpose.

"If you take a red apple outside under a blue sky, there are more blue wavelengths entering your eye. If you take the apple inside under a fluorescent or incandescent light without that same bias, the pigments in the apple are exactly the same but because the spectral content of the light source is different, the spectrum entering your eye that's reflected off the object is different." Conway says

So, thanks to color constancy, we don’t see bananas yellow in the morning but green at midday.

"In this picture, someone has very cleverly manipulated the image so that the objects you're looking at are reflecting what would otherwise be achromatic or grayscale, but the light source that your brain interprets to be on the scene has got this blueish component," Conway says. "You brain says, 'the light source that I'm viewing these strawberries under has some blue component to it, so I'm going to subtract that automatically from every pixel.' And when you take grey pixels and subtract out this blue bias, you end up with red."

That’s also why we saw the dress in different colors.

The light source was unclear, so people's brains corrected for different kinds of light, causing them to see the dress differently.

Sources: 1 2

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