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By on September 4, 2006, with 61 Comments

Concentrate on the red spot in the middle of the rectangle, and watch gray stripes disappear! This one is really cool, eventhough simmilar illusions have been posted in the past. Can you explain why this effect happens? I would really like to know why! P.S. Due to popular demand, Mac games are bout to be posted ;)

Vanishing Stripes


61 Responses
  1. Sarah says:

    Wow that’s really cool!!!!!!

  2. Admiral says:

    Not falling for that one! There is only a black box with a red dot in the middle. I suspect if anyone said there were no grey stripes the response would be: “See! it works a treat!”

  3. MikeDX says:

    That’s very cool.

  4. Ocean says:

    lol I don’t see the grey stripes.

  5. vonKrolock says:

    Well, I wrote you a little nove because you asked for explanations. And now I see that I see nothing…
    Or is it because you don’t have time?
    I wondered because meanwhile comments appeared.

  6. Me says:

    Admiral, i used photoshop to see there are grey stipes.

  7. jess says:

    the red dot is on a white line so you concentrate on the white section and see past the gray part.

  8. alana says:

    no offense admiral but if you dont see those lines than either a- ur color blind
    b- ur stupid
    c- ur blind
    or d- all of the above. I think its d

  9. Pandas says:

    to those people out there, just highlight it

  10. Dave says:

    People that can’t see the grey stripes have low monitor contrast.

  11. Libiom says:

    Actually, I have the answer to this direct from an optometrist. In his words, “It’s actually a sign of intelligence. When you stare at a static image for a long time, the brain gets bored and simply stores the peripheral imagery for a while until there’s a change, at which time it will update the image.”

  12. dadida says:

    omg it actually works!!!

  13. meeow? says:

    that was neat

  14. Anonymous says:

    This was very cool. Admiral, you are not stupid at all. Not every person sees things the exact same way. I still can’t see the tube in “Tube of illusion”. Must we call names when someone has a different viewpoint? Btw, Alana, how can someone not be offended at you calling them blind and stupid? HOW RUDE.

  15. -----malolelola----- says:

    KALA: this one doesn’t makes sense?? just because u cant see the grey lines doesnt mean they arent there! read all the comments, almost every1 got it…
    it makes sense, try to change ur monitor contrast

  16. KP says:

    when your eyes focus on the red dot, the frey stripes become perifrial. when that happens…the stripes dissappear.

  17. loser says:

    i stare at things alot…like dots and stuff…mostly im in deep thought…but then i realize…it looks like something is trying to cover up the suranding area.a lighter color of the color…just stare at things…with dots…it will mostly work on circals…like..oh a yellow circal! just stare at it..a blueish type of circal will try to cover it…blue background too!

  18. Michael/Ferris says:

    Dude, this is a bad one. there are too stripes in the picture. I had an idea, and it worked. save as the picture, then rotate it. the stripes rotate with it.

  19. Dina says:

    OMG thats so weird and cool at the same time!

  20. Anonymous says:

    its because your eye is only concentrating on one thing, so doesnt notice the grey stripes because theyre so faint…just like reading and listening to music at the same time, after a while you only notice one of the two

  21. Anonymous says:

    Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet, kinda lame but still cool 2 look at.

  22. Anonymous says:

    highlight it:)

  23. Anonymous says:

    I saw the grey stripes perfectly.
    If u cant see them its because ure monitor isnt good enough try adjusting the contrast.

  24. sookie monstaar says:

    well u see..this isnt reeli an illusion. if u draw a dot on a whiteboard n u focus on it, it will disappear. somehow u focus on the red dot, but there r grey stripes round it, so u stare harder. but wen u read da instructions it sed stare at the red dot n da grey stripes will disapear. u are onli imaginin dem disapear. its a stupid thing reeli n isnt a real illusion

    logic dude logic.

    im onli 12 n i figured dis out..how old do u hav to be to figur it out?? 100??

  25. Anonymous says:

    people say there aren’t any lines, but I just used GNU paint (analogous to MS paint) to check:
    So they’re different.

  26. Anonymous says:

    i find it hard to make the gray lines disappear.

  27. Rina says:

    Its because you’re focusing on the red dot, and not exactly the area around it. The grey stripes are quite faint aswel.

  28. Anonymous says:


  29. Danica says:

    The REAL explanation for this is that when u over focus on something your eyes tend to relax and stop moving as much, once they stop vibrating it starts to loose the ability to differentiate between the two similar colors. Our eyes are constantly twitching/moving, even if its on an unnoticeable level. Should your eyes ever stop this slight moving you wouldn’t be able to see anything. Try just staring at any object on your desk intently without moving your body or your gaze and you will notice that your peripherals will start to go white. That is because your eyes aren’t moving as much as you can no longer see other things except for what you are looking at. Also we by the age of 20 something u are technically blind right in the center of your eyes, too much light and use causes that part within your eye to be burnt by light but u keep on being able to see because your eyes slightly vibrate and that allows you to continue seeing. Fun fact ^_^

  30. Anonymous says:

    wat grey stripes?

  31. Anonymous says:

    what grey stripes?

  32. Anonymous says:

    It’s called retinal fatigue. After being exposed to one color for a period of time, the cones in your retina (the ones responsible for color) start to send signals to your brain for the opposite color. The white and gray stripes ‘disappear’ for this reason. If you look at a blank wall after the stripes fade, you will see them (in opposite colors) projected on the wall. The red dot will also appear cyan instead.

  33. Anonymous says:

    ok,U no how the red dot is in a WHITE stripe??well if you focus on the red dot,yr eyes will make your brain thing that the rest of the square is white.U may ask “y??” well when you consentrate on the red dot,and VERY litl space around it, the space will “travel”. like i said,yr eyes will make your brain thing that the rest of the square is white. but if the dot’s stripe was GREY, the squre wood turn grey!simple, rite?!?!

  34. Solar Pannelled says:

    Couldn’t see da stripes til moved chair back from computer. AWESOME!!!

  35. Christopher says:

    The color grey is a contrasting color to red and white. You concentrate on the red (which is on the white) and the grey stripes will disappear due to the eye involuntarially cancelling the contrasting color out.

  36. Cosette says:

    That sure does work! It happens guickly.

  37. adz says:

    this is what i refer to as the ‘fart effect’

    let rip a stinker and after a while your senses ignore it because it clearly isnt needed information anymore. the fart is still there and when a guest enters the room the fart will be just as brand new as when you deployed it.

    you can re-enjoy the gas yourself by leaving the room and returning after a few minutes.

  38. plmethvin says:

    ehh. Just invert the colors to see why the only thng illusional is that it looks all white to begin with

  39. Sparky says:

    this is great i see DRAGONS around the red dost. ahehehe… joke!!! actually i see a slanting tube-like or let say it as bars but not color grey. its like a very pale green.

  40. matt says:

    Its because of the sensory information that your eyes are seeing isnt being refreshed. You focus on the red, and your eye will wash out everything around it because its more intense. Try holing one eye shut, then press a finger on your eyelid of the other eye thats open.

  41. toby says:

    you are too focused on the red dot

  42. Alice Bevan-McGregor says:

    As described by others, it’s a static eye illusion: our eyes have to be in constant motion to see anything whatsoever. When you concentrate and stare at a single point, low-contrast colour changes fade away as our eyes lose interest.

    Even more dramatically, in studies where participants eyes were held utterly stationary by a rather midevial-looking device the participants went completely blind after a few seconds as -everything- faded out. If you concentrate hard on a single point, you may notice your eyes jitter around; this is why high-contrast details don’t fade out when you look at this illusion.

    The natural fade in our eyes (refresh rate, if you will) acts just like phosphor in CRT displays, and is also the reason we can perceive low-framerate video (15 fps or so is the minimum) as motion, despite the fact that it’s just a series of static images. A cat’s refresh rate is much higher.

  43. sillymilly says:

    Neat. :)

  44. William says:

    Very cool.

    You won’t be able to see the stripes if you sit too close to the monitor.

  45. khaled says:

    i think this is due to phisiological process as there is ” on center off surrounding ” mech.

    this mechanism explain how can we see ..

    you can return to a phisiology text book

  46. kieran says:

    those are some very well comoflarshed stripes!

  47. imran says:

    there are 2 parts to this illusion. One, the diagonal lines disappear after a few seconds and the other which i am surprised no one noticed yet is that once the diagonal lines disappear and you move your eyes immediately to the left of the illusion picture and look quickly at a light colored page (side of the webpage) you will see diagonal lines appear for a short period.

  48. E Frost says:

    Actually that is just like a touchscreen focus camera your retina is a “camera” as I shall say and if you try to focus on anything smaller then the full picture it will “blur” out everything else
    SOURCE: 12 years being a eye and computer and phone specialist

  49. Ann says:

    maybe because ur eyes are concentrating @ the red dot x))

  50. Illusiongazer says:

    The reason why the grey stripes disappear is because the low gradient of grey next to the white disappears when you are focusing on the red dot because when you are focusing on the red dot low gradient colors (The low gradient grey) vanish due to the focus because you’re brain ignores the low gradient color’s

    It’s really just elementary And no im not a scientist i am just a j.r. high school student

  51. pokemon boy1 says:

    there are stripes?

  52. FIREBLADE says:

    Dude its like the camera effect
    when u focus on one point the surroundings becomes blurry similarly here the surroundings blurs n appears white!

    • Anonymous says:

      once you stare at the red dots your eyes focus on that and everything else gets blurry since the stripes are so light they seam like they vanished when they are really burry

  53. Meeeeeeeeeeeeee says:

    The Stripes are there already
    I know this because I blocked the red spot with my fingers and looked at it.

  54. MeEgAn gAlaNtE says:

    When I looked at the dot, more lines appeared.

  55. Mister M. says:

    Fireblade is right, since there is so little difference in shades of color of the stripes and white background, when they both blur, they mix and merge, in an optical illusion kind of thing :P

    Annd since the white stripes (white background as I call it) are much wider, they totally overlap the little darker shaded stripes, that are in respect, thinner.

    Great optical illuson!

  56. Elizabeth says:

    It works because our brains are designed to only take in information that it thinks is important. Since we are focusing on the red dot, our brains see that as important, and the grey stripes are just pointless background, so it makes them disappear. The same thing happens if you stare at your reflection in a mirror for a while. Some people eventually see completely different people instead of themselves after staring for a while because your brain “erases” unimportant details from your reflection. This is also why most animals of the same species (pandas, for example) look the same to us, but pandas can tell all pandas apart just like we can tell all people apart.

  57. jen says:

    you can only see the stripes if you’re far enough away from the screen and look at it from the right angle

  58. OMPITA says:

    Nothing to do with the red dot.

    Try obscuring your view of the red dot with a finger and just continue to gaze at the box.

    The sripes still ‘disapear’.

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