Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Michael Jackson’s Black or White Illusion


Here’s an original optical illusion based on the Best Visual Illusion of 2005.

Believe it or not, Michael Jackson is exactly the same on both sides, he didn’t change his hat, pants nor shoes. Keep reading if you don’t believe it or want some more.


You may want to save both images and view them in succession to verify this is indeed an optical illusion.

“The apparent lightness of the target depends on the context in which it is embedded”, as Barton Anderson and Jonathan Winawer describe in more detail in “Image segmentation and lightness perception” (PDF), which was the cover image for Nature in March 2005. They extend the discussion in a more recent paper, “Layered image representations and the computation of surface lightness”.

I originally tried to create an image focusing on his face, but results were not that good:


It was also in not-so-good taste. I hope the final version of the entertainer doing what he did well sends a good message. And also look cool.

[with thanks to Ila Fox for the help!]

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted in Miscelaneous,Science | 3 comments

3 Comments so far

  1. Greg September 13th, 2009 11:20 am

    Sorry, but I see don’t see any difference between the figures’ colours. Poor illusion…

  2. […] on: Michael Jackson’s Black or White Illusion (132 […]

  3. Boyd Waters September 5th, 2011 4:27 pm

    Great illusion!

Leave a reply

Live Comment Preview