The rapid spinning of a circle made of black and white patterns results in an illusion that differs for each viewer.
Benham’s disc, named after the toymaker who designed it as top for children to play with, results in a phenomenon that seems to show different colors as the black and white blend visually as it spins.
In the 1990s, 100 years after the top was first created, scientists explained how the toy demonstrated pattern-induced flicker colors.
“The phenomenon is interpreted as a side effect of a neural mechanism providing color constancy under normal stimulus conditions,” the scientists said at the time.
Watch this video of one such spinning top to see if you can spot the different colors that might pop up — and take note if they change with with the rate of spin:
One theory, the University of Washington’s website stated, is that the colors result from changes happening in the eye’s retina and visual systems as you watch the top.
“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 alternating response may cause some type of interaction within the nervous system that generates colors,” the website stated.
Other theories exist as well, but not one explains the phenomenon completely, the University of Washington stated.
Try out the experiment with different types of Benham’s disc designs from the Online Psychological Library.
(H/T: Daily Mail)