This Optical Illusion That Causes Colors to Disappear Is Totally Insane

Having your eyes inexplicably play tricks on you isn't typically something to get excited about, especially if it involves having colors stripped away from whatever it is you're looking at. Then again, there's a certain thrill that comes with pulling the curtain back on the intricacies of how our brains actually work, which is what makes this particular mesmerizing optical illusion so incredibly mesmerizing.

To experience the visual adventure for yourself, take a moment to look at the blur of colors in the image above, and then stare at the center of it. Specifically, stare directly at the center for about 10 to 20 seconds. Did anything weird happen? Did the colors in front of you vanish? Yeah... It's bonkers. 

Evidently, this happens because of something called Troxler Fading, a phenomenon that affects visual perception when a person fixates on a particular point. Basically, it causes the surrounding area outside the fixation point to fade away and disappear as your brain "fills in" in the area with whatever color is in the background. It's wild, but hey, so is the human brain. 

The image, which was posted to Reddit on Monday, has already racked up an astonishing 48,000 upvotes, and is eliciting the sort of "whoa, holy shi*t" comments you might expect. 

Whoa indeed.


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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.