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By on May 31, 2010, with 107 Comments

Colorful Text Optical IllusionWeek ago, Hussain Mohamed sent me this interesting picture, one I have overlooked by mistake. The game is simple – all you have to do is say the original colors out loud, and ignore the written word. Like Hussain pointed, for example, orange might be given in green text, and you have to read the word “green” instead. It couldn’t be more easy, could it? Now let’s play! You’ll quickly realize this isn’t as simple as you though it would be!

BTW, I’ve received bunch of cool optical illusion videos, and can’t wait to share them with you via our custom video player! Expect more cool stuff in days to come…


107 Responses
  1. Anusha says:

    Idk, I’ve never thought this sorta thing was hard. *shrug*

  2. Stuti Jindal says:

    I did it in one go! :)

  3. T.J says:

    I didn’t find that too hard. Does age make a difference on these things?

  4. Lili says:

    not so hard for a foreigner…
    (not a native English speaker)

  5. erpay says:

    My native language isn’t English so i ignore the language and just say the colors :)

  6. Wow, it really is not as easy as it seems, but i suggest it could be that for some people around the world it easier than for others. The simple fact that english is not the motherlanguage makes it way easier, doesn’t it?

  7. bmt says:

    For the people whosaid that it wasn’t difficult, the point is not that it’s too difficult to do, it just takes longer to say the colour of each word than it does to say the word. This is because cognitively, we can’t not read a word if we see it. So it takes a moment to adjust that automatic response.
    And no, age make no difference, unless a child who cannot yet read is performing the task- they would be able to do it faster than an adult.

  8. Code Monkey says:

    Do a comparison in timing.

    Go through saying each of the words as quickly as you can and see how long it takes.

    Then try going through saying the colour of the letters instead.

    Most people will probably find that it takes significantly longer to say the colours than the words.

  9. Shayna says:

    I got through it, but by the fourth line I had to slightly hesitate before each word and think “don’t say the word, don’t say the word!” :P

  10. matt says:

    its a lil tricky

  11. JMAN12 says:

    It is a very easy optical illusion!!!

  12. Davids says:

    I stumbled quite a bit trying to do it with some speed. Love this one. I’ll show it to some people!

  13. Chris says:

    THey put the first 2 rows the same color as the word to confuse you even further.
    i cant read it at all! its so frustrating >:O

  14. NeeL says:

    You cant do this without thinking this over continuously.

    And for everybody who is going to say it wasn’t hard at all, say the colours out loud in English!

  15. DaEgg says:

    I messed up a few times in the first line, but once you go further it’s easier.

  16. Koaieus says:

    Just squint your eyes until you can’t read the letters anymore ;)

    And for people who can’t speak English very well it’s easier of course :P

  17. Allen says:

    First time through.

  18. Dave says:

    one try simple!

  19. A.D.M says:

    No for something like this age makes no difference, it is left side of the brain vs right side of the brain, another example of this is to pat your head while stroking your stomach in a circular motion, you can actually train your brain to do these things. The right hemisphere of the brain recognises the colour of the text but the more worked left side of the brain recognises the word and will dominate as we are more used to reading the word and not saying what the colour of the text is.

  20. Anyone says:

    Wanna Cookie?

  21. gennia11 says:

    wat dat duppose 2 mean, T.j.? u tryin 2 ruin da fun? i thought it was pretty neat! fun indeed ;D

  22. Brooks says:

    This variation on the STROOP effect is , in my mind, vary strong. It took me more than twice as long to read the conflicted words ( colour different than word) as to read the non conflicted words. Strong readers who are sight based have particulare difficultey while weak readers have less difficulte with this as their not so tied a sight approch and strong fluency.

  23. Brent says:

    It’s Stroop Interference. It’s not so much “hard” as it is “harder”… you can’t go quite as fast when the colours and words don’t match up. Age matters only in that kids are slower than young adults. But not having any effect would simply mean that you can’t read the underlying language.

  24. bbb says:

    i did’nt find it hard, eather

  25. ky says:

    If you cross eyed, its a whole lot easier. Haha. This one was pretty good, I’ve seen it a lot of times before though.

  26. ali says:

    I have a very hard time with these. I pretty much have to pause, think, and say each one individually. The problem for me is that I tend to look at the entire word as a block, I think, and so I automatically read it.

    I’m female, early 30s, and I read a LOT – words on the computer all day long, books for entertainment otherwise. So those of you that DON’T have a problem with these, I wonder if there is an age/gender/something reason.

  27. Lisa says:

    It isn’t really that hard to read. I did it without a problem

  28. psb says:

    The longer I went the worster I got, LOL

  29. Cynt says:

    Took me, about, 1/4 a minute

  30. Cynt says:

    I did it in 1/4 a minute. Go me!

  31. Jacob says:

    …this is supposed to be hard…?!??!?!?

  32. Korahn says:

    I can’t do it, being a little colourblind.

  33. Care Bear says:

    Imagine the confusion for someone who is both illiterate and color blind. Boggles the brain.

  34. Bah says:

    The previous posters are morons. It’s much harder. First time yourself reading the text, then try and do the colours in the same amount of time with no mistakes. You will fail.

  35. JOJO says:

    idk bout u guys out there but for me this wuz a nice simply easy piece of cake. wish life were more like dis.

  36. Michelle says:

    A local bar I used to frequent has exactly this hanging on a bulletin board inside the door. Its just printed on white paper, inside a sheet protector. It used to give us endless entertainment when we’d try to read it after a few. =)

  37. Suzanne says:

    Its actually harder if you ignore the word and read the colour.

  38. peace-angel says:

    Not the kinda thing you do with speed after a few drinks :)

  39. Dolphin says:

    It was easy for me.Now to try it on my older brother…

  40. Freddy says:

    All I did was blur my eyes until I couldn’t read the words.

  41. Talia says:


  42. Talia says:


  43. Trancis says:

    That was easy as easy can be … one star !

  44. Maryann Dionisio says:

    i got a chuckle and i’m 56 so maybe it is an age thing…

  45. 9 year old says:

    wasnt that had only one mistake

  46. I kinda felt like I did this thing where I only concentrated on the colours and not the words and it was really easy. Maybe the ability to do that says something about you, right brained or something I dont know.

  47. Janelle McDermott says:

    mmm, I didn’t find this easy at all! Maybe age does have something to do with it

  48. Gregory Padilla says:

    Just squint. Makes it real simple.

  49. qwertyuiop says:

    i didnt find i too hard
    but, if i tried going any faster, then i would probably stuff up big time

  50. Find this very hard but also very fun.

  51. Fredrik says:

    This is known as the Stroop effect.


  52. Brian says:

    try reading the words as words, then read the words as the color of the text. I was able to read the words without a hitch, but reading the color of the text, while easy, took twice as long.

  53. Whitney N. Ollivierre says:

    lol it wasn’t hard… but it’s interesting for sure.

  54. Jilly says:

    wonderful ;DD simply wonderful

  55. Kum says:

    just a trick can make everyone read out the colors without any confusion with text, i.e just squint ur eyes so that only colors are visible and not the text… :)

  56. G.G says:

    It wasn’t too hard for me, as I’m near sighted. All I need to do is take off my glasses and play the game. =)

  57. N says:

    i saw this on saturday in camera obscura!

  58. base8 says:

    I dont really see the optical “illusion” in this.

  59. Timmi Kaye Creer says:

    Guess i’m blonde… i screwed up once cuz ya…lol

  60. Nikolai Scheel says:

    if you don’t pay attention to the words, it makes it a little easier. (For me, not by much.)

  61. Anomo says:

    That was to easy. I did what the explanation said before I even read it :S

  62. Josh says:

    I found myself saying “purple” while looking at the word “red” written in green.

    I guess not being a native speaker (or: thinker) helps a lot in doing it right.

  63. C.C says:

    I have a lite trouble with these things. :P oh well, cool illusion! (s it an illusion…? meh, tomato, tomahto)

  64. Ruud says:

    Hmmmm, right and left brainhalf get confused…..Nice!

  65. alijaya says:

    squint your eyes and make it blur…
    you will read it easily :p

  66. tony says:

    Kinda simple I’m afraid… though nearly stumbled on second to last blue.

  67. Gwalchgwn says:

    If you can’t beat the game because you see the words, try watching in a blur. It’ll help a lot

  68. Zade says:

    this is called the stroop effect, and it is well documented in cognitive science research. the point is not that it is impossible, but rather that it is much harder. if you were to compare this with your performance reading colored, non-color words (like “dog” written in red, etc.) you would notice it takes significantly less time when the words are not color words.

    t.j., as for the age question, there is some debate, but many studies have shown that the stroop effect increases with age. so, older folks seem have an even harder time reading colored color words compared to colored non-color words.

  69. Rath says:

    Hhhmmm: Considering I had to focus for a moment to get it right, I do think age does matter ;)

  70. How can anyone say they have done it correctly without someone else checking them? It seems easy but you can still slow down and stumble as you go through…

  71. Ms.Observant says:

    @ T.J

    Yeah. It’s easier for little kids because they can’t read so babang, they know their colors and win it in one go!

  72. Isabel says:

    Easy peasy!!

  73. Tasta says:

    My guess is it depends also your native language.

    I’m french and it’s easy to read color names in English without mixing up…

  74. rd says:

    Cool. This is called the Stroop effect, after the guy who discovered it. This is one of the most researched phenomenon in cognitive psychology.

  75. gomonkey says:

    so easy

  76. gomonkey says:

    im 11

  77. B.W. says:

    That was so easy! And I don’t really get why this is an illusion either – it’s just coloured words.

  78. Dave says:

    It is definitely tricky for me, maybe due to being old and the brain not as flexible for this 45 year old.

  79. Hussain says:

    That’s awesome,Stuti! I never managed to do so!! I always go to the fourth line and I always get stuck :)

  80. Jen Steffen says:

    I’ve seen this before where you have to ignore the color of the word, so I did that, but I admit it took some hesitation before I could “read” the color of the word. My girl got it after looking at it for a little bit.

  81. It confused me.lol. Took me a couple of tries but I got it in the end.

  82. Pankaj says:

    There is a very easy trick to get this done in ONE GO!!! Blur out the image, defocus your eyes so that you can see the color and not read the words, that way you can immediately recognise the correct color and say it….try this SIMPLE trick.

  83. Matt says:

    I found it real easy when I said “orange” when “orange” was typed. But I found it really hard the other way when I said “blue” when the word was typed “orange” in blue ink. Are the people above sure they did it right?

  84. Flying purple people eater says:

    Sinchamicaded, wtf is the point of it :L
    BTW people i am the NUMBER 1 DOG LOVER

  85. uiegugq says:

    That was ezpz.

  86. Scott says:

    The instructions are unclear. What are the “original colors” you are supposed to say?

    Did you mean say the displayed color??

  87. Sheetal says:

    got it in one go :-)

  88. Stargirl101 says:

    WAY WAY WAY TOO EASY! And I’M ONLY 12! HA! Y do u lot think it’s THAT hard?

  89. George Beckingham says:

    I find it gets easier as you go. By the last line, I was reading as fast as the first line.

  90. whatplot says:

    well.. not that hard, but probably because English isn’t my native language ;)

  91. ......???....... says:

    if u sorta cross your eyes and make all the words blury, its easier :D

  92. DaEgg says:

    Squint til you can’t read it and it’s easy!

  93. AMMAR says:

    the best way to do it is to lose focus or cross your eyes so its blurred, then the colours are easy to see

  94. it didnt squint of nothin’. i didnt mess up.

  95. Grace says:

    I can read the words, but not say the color.

  96. Kavon Jackson says:

    I consecutively said all of them with no problem

  97. Bunny says:

    To easy. I can read both color and world without stumbling on either.

  98. Dan says:

    I only stuffed up on the last one. pretty easy.

  99. Zeb says:



  100. kate says:

    i kept getting stuck on the “purple” ones cause i wasn’t sure if i should say purple pink or fuchsia….

  101. Desiree says:

    WOO HOO!!! I did it on the first try, like a bause!

  102. Chillen499 says:

    the colors didn’t mess me up

  103. Eponine says:

    I don’t see why this is an illusion. You’ll slow down in color naming, but your eyes aren’t fooled. It’s stroop effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroop_effect

  104. Mike Affronte says:

    See you can make your brain do more than one thing at a time.

  105. FranHaki says:

    I think it’s because you start with the words and the colors match then suddenly the word red is in color green

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