Brain and Body

Trick Your Brain into Turning a Black and White Photo to Color

November 25, 2015 | Johannes Van Zijl

Black and white photo of a castle
Photo credit: Screenshot from video by BBC

The human brain is remarkable, constantly helping us to fill in the gaps without us taking much notice.

In this video, the BBC showcases our brain’s ability to construct a full-color image from a black and white picture.  They allow a participant to stare at a black and white image of a castle; they then adapt the image to false color, and get the participant to stare at a dot in middle of the screen for a small period of time.

By doing so, it allows the sensitivity of light receptors in different parts of the participant eyes to adjust. When the image is reverted to the original black and white picture, the participant observes a colored image, even though the image is black and white.

The demonstration gives way to thinking that color doesn’t really exist outside of our own perception of it. Truly remarkable!

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