Studies Say Only 1% Of People Can Find The Animal In This Picture. Can You?

With numerous articles about optical illusions with images that trick the mind orbiting social media, you’ve probably wondered how they work.


One of these images is the one shown in this article and apparently only 1% of the people can solve it. The photograph is supposed to have an animal (panda) that a very low percent of people can see.

This is called the McCollough effect which is a trick on the mind. After staring at a colored grating for several minutes, your brain will start to see a pink tinge or other colors when viewing the black and white stripes.

Tilting your head 90 degrees can either improve or reduce the effect. Rotating the induction images can reverse the effect. Additionally, the more you look at the induction images, the longer the effect will be.

This visual illusion is called an afterimage since you’re removing the stimulus but the sight persists. Scientists claim that it results from a continued activation of our visual system.

Strong colors make a bigger impression on the visual system. They trick it into believing that you’re still seeing the colors when they’re not there.

The same thing happens when a flash from the camera stays in the vision even after closing the eyes.

The Journal of Experimental Psychology claimed that the effect can last for more than three months if a person looks at the colorful gratings for a long period.

The person that discovered this effect was the US psychologist Celeste McCollough Howard by which the effect was named by.

He called the effect ‘contingent aftereffect’ which is an illusion affecting the brain for an extended period.

You can test it yourself with the images below (the test is not harmful; it will affect your vision only for a while).


Scientists want to find out how this effect occurs with some speculating that it’s linked with the neurons of the visual cortex. Other experts claim that the brain is color-correcting the world and is stuck. Another group claims that it’s like a withdrawal symptom or absence of color.

An experiment was conducted on a person that suffered significant brain damage.

This 1995 research claimed that the effect worked using the red-and-green gratings and the black-and-white gratings, leading researchers to think that the effect occurs within the visual cortex. Julien Ciroux agrees with this research.

The two induction images can stimulate the effect by staring at the center for a few minutes and alternating. After, looking at this image will allow you to see red, green, or pinkish parts.

Researchers proved that the red and green stripes produced an afterimage and that if the induction image is green, the person will see red colors on vertical grates and green colors on horizontal grates after. With a red induction image, the colors reversed. Only red and green can produce this effect.


If you’re trying to get this effect, make sure you’re careful with long durations since they can damage your eyesight.

The McCollough Effect Dangerous
As this effect involves staring at images of vertical and horizontal lines, scientists warn that it literally might change the color of your day – making you see white and black as green and red for up to three and a half months.

For some people who have tried it out on the Internet, they have had a mixed reaction. For some this is the most mind-blowing thing they have ever done to their brain, and they

Another experience was the lousy headache after 5 minutes staring on the lines.

However, if you want to reverse the effect, according to experts it is necessary to stare at the original colored images again for half the time you originally looked at them, but this time you need to rotate them 90 degrees counter clockwise.

What happens in the brain during optical illusions?
People create perception based on the interpretation of what they enter through their eyes, and optical illusions arise because their brains try to interpret what they see and understand the world around them. In optical illusions, people simply trick the brain into seeing things that may or may not be real.


Studying Visual Trickery with the McCollough Effect
Many scientists have paid attention to McCollough Effect and they especially are interested to identify types of people who are most impacted by it.

For those who are also interested to study we offer below what they need and the experimental procedure.


Test subjects
Online demonstration of the McCollough effect
Notebook in which are results recorded
Experimental Procedure:
Recruit many people (different genders) in a variety of age groups.

Ask them to study the online animation meant to stimulate the McCollough effect for exactly seven minutes.

Then start your stopwatch and ask the test subject to let you know when the McCollough effect has worn off.

The time is still recording and notes made, focusing on the subject’s age and gender.

Repeat steps 2-4 time with all people tested.

Analyzing results answer the questions

What was the average duration of the McCollough effect in male and female test subjects?

What was the average duration of the McCollough effect in test subjects younger than thirty and older?

What do participants have in common that experienced the McCullough effect for the longest amount of time?


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