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Black & White Disk Illusion experiment

The wheel is called Benham’s top and it creates an illusion of color when black and white patterns rapidly change. It is named after the toymaker Charles Benham, who, in 1895, created a top painted with the pattern shown.


When you spin the disk and stare at this illusion you may see arcs of subtle color. These are called Fechner colors and appear from nowhere.


When you spin the disk and Stare at this black and white wheel long enough and you may see a colors appear out of nowhere.
But incredibly, different people see different colors – and some may not see anything at all.


Many people say they see green, others see yellow and a few see red, but exactly why this is the case has baffled scientists for decades. The faster you spin the disk, the more obvious the colors effect and reversing the wheel can also change the shade.


One theory about why people see different colors is that the receptors in the human eye respond at different rates to red, green, and blue.


The retina of the eye is composed of two types of receptors sensitive to light: cones and rods. Cones are important for color vision and for seeing in bright light.


There are three types of cones, each of which is most sensitive to a particular wavelength of light.


‘It is possible that the colors seen in spinning Benham disks are the result of changes that occur in the retina and other parts of the visual system,’ according to Washington University.


‘For example, the spinning disks may activate neighboring areas of the retina differently. In other words, the black and white areas of the disk stimulate different parts of the retina.’


This response may cause a type of changes within the nervous system that creates colors, scientists believe.


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