Winner Of The Best Illusion Contest Shows How Color Depends On Context

Author: Kate Baggaley


Last night, the winners of the Best Illusion of the Year Contest were announced. First prize went to an illusion called "Splitting Colors," which reveals how the colors we perceive can depend on their surroundings.

Mark Vergeer/KU Leuven (Belgium)

"The Splitting Color illusion is all about how we perceive colors. We start off with two identical, flickering colored stripes that remain unchanged throughout the demonstration. However, different surroundings will make these stripes appear completely different. When the stripe is flanked by a yellow/blue pattern, drifting to the left, it changes appearance, and looks red and cyan, drifting to the right, while the same stripe, flanked by a red/cyan pattern drifting to the right, suddenly looks yellow and blue, drifting to the left. This illusion shows that one and the same object can look completely different depending on its surroundings."

Second and third prize went to illusions titled "Ambiguous Garage Roof" and "The Day it Rained on Lowry." You can check them out here, along with the other finalists.