Optical illusion that gaslights own brain to think traffic light is red

Optical illusions have been tricking the minds of many recently – remember this potato mind boggler?

Well, it's time to put your brain to the test again after this traffic light teaser has caught the attention of many.

And it might make drivers think again before hitting the road.

READ MORE: Tricky optical illusion challenges people with sharp eyes to find butterfly

To be safe while in your car then paying attention to the traffic lights is a big must.

However, this optical illusion may have just thrown a spanner in the works after leaving many drivers doubting their ability to see what colours the lights are.

Frequent illusionist Dean Jackson, who posts on TikTok as @beatonthebeeb, took to the social media app to share the head scratching puzzle.

On the first glance, the top light appears to be red – but that is not the case. When the cyan filter was removed, the light actually is grey not the usual colour many thought it to be.

Dean blocked off the rest of the picture with a similar grey colour to show that there was no red at all, it was just your brain tricking you.


Well, fear not, Dean explained how the illusion works.

"It's your brain working overtime convincing you of the red," he voiced in the viral clip.

"There is no red there.

"If you’re seeing it is because you have some cyan still in your field of view."

This is because at the back of the human eye we have something called photoreceptors. These are the cells that respond to light that help us see.

The photoreceptors come as either 'rods' or 'cones' – with the cones being able to detect colour and the rods are sensitive to movement and used for night vision.

As humans have three different types of cone cells, we are able to pick up on colours – either red, green or blue.

So, this is why the traffic light illusion confuses are brain. The cyan colour is both green and blue meaning the filer only lets these through – and not the red.

In the brain teaser, the cyan filter placed over the red light meant that most of the colour could not penetrate through it which is why it appeared grey or even black.

But, why could we still see the red? Well, as our brains know the usual context of the photo, it automatically interprets it as such – which means it will not render in our minds as grey – even though actually is.

That's why when Dean blocked off the rest of the picture that it was easier for the brain to recognise that it was grey, not red.

Amazed at the illusion, many people fled to the comments to share their verdict.

One person commented: "Defocusing the eyes I can see it as grey with cyan filter on too."

Another user added: "This is really cool."

While a third mocked: "Not my own brain gaslighting me."

Someone else shared: "If I concentrate I see it, grey."

Let us know in the comments if the optical illusion fooled you – do you see the grey?


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