Prepare to have your mind blown.
This photo by Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a Professor of Psychology at Ritsumeikan University in Japan, looks like it’s just a strawberry tart with a weird filter over it.
In actuality, it’s an image made of mostly gray (with some green) pixels.
Kitaoka specializes in creating optical illusions and this one is very optically confusing. Those strawberries clearly appear red... BUT THERE IS NO RED IN THE IMAGE.
This phenomenon is called color constancy, which is basically how your brain color corrects the world when it’s filtered through different light.
Bevil Conway, an expert on visual perception from the National Eye Institute talked to Motherboard about the image.
“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 told the publication.
“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.”
Conway also indicated that because we know strawberries are red, our brain is ready to pair them with that color.
Basically, strawberries are red, optical illusions are perpetually cool and the human brain is a miraculous thing. We need a snack now.
Clarification: The headline has been modified for consistency with the article to indicate that the image is not made entirely of gray pixels.