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Confessions of an Old Fogey
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Cool illusion found on Michael Gartenberg's blog

Cool illusion found on Michael Gartenberg's blog

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Michael Gartenberg pointed out this cool illusion.  It's a circle of pink dots with a rotating highlight.  If you stare at it long enough, the pink highlight turns green, and if you keep on looking at it, the circle of pink dots disappears.


Very, very freaky.


  • cute.
  • wow, that is freaky. (Thought at first the green was added by the animated GIF)
  • Ian Griffiths has reimplemented this animation in WPF (September CTP revision)
  • The part about the pink dots disappearing isn't surprising - the brain filters out constant stimuli that it deems unimportant. It's the same effect as when you're in a room with a strange smell (like paint) and you don't notice the smell after a few minutes. But if you leave the room and come back, you detect the smell right away.
  • you can find that and quite a few more here
  • Wow that is pretty cool. This stuff always amazes me even though I understand the logic -- I think it's because we feel our brain is lying to us.

    The effect of "losing smells" though is a bit different (in response to Mike) as it is related to the receptor nerves in the nose -- they lose their ability to send these messages to the brain, but when removed from the smell quickly regain that ability. Kinda the same effect, though.
  • This page has a few interesting/freaky illusions:
  • And if you concentrate on the "+" for a while then suddenly change your focus to somewhere blank on the screen, you'll see a circle of green spots for a short period. :)
  • Yep. And oddly enough if you focus on one of the purple spots, then you'll see the same green dot/disappearing purple dots effect, except that *this* time the single purple dot you're staring at will remain there.

    It's harder to say in that state though -- any slight movement of your eyes brings all the purple dots back.

    (In fact, if you can get really focused then even the dot you're staring at disappears. That's really freaky.)
  • For a while there, I thought I could make the blinking dot hold still for a second, but then I realized my CPU was being taken over by another program :-)
  • > The part about the pink dots disappearing
    > isn't surprising - the brain filters out
    > constant stimuli that it deems unimportant

    I don't think this is a result of the brain. I think it has to do with how our eyes work.
    Experiement with covering one eye and let the visual effect happen using your one uncovered eye. It still works but then, if you uncover
    the other eye, the red circles immediately re-appear. So I think the eye is loosing the capacity to send the signal, not the brain choosing to ignore it.
  • wow how weird is that... I just recieved this same thing via email :)

    Things get around fast on this interwebby thing!
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