Disclaimer: If you follow the instructions below, you will change your brain’s functioning for a prolonged time (up to three months!). Proceed only if you are willing to take this risk. However, we stress that you abstain from undergoing this yourself if you work with text or video.

There is a fascinating brain reaction called the McCollough Effect, which you can use to hack your brain and change how it perceives visual stimuli. Discovered by American psychologist Celeste McCollough in 1965, this may seem like a simple optical illusion at first, but it is cognitive in nature. Which is to say that this can effectively alter your sense of sight, for a prolonged period of time, by rewiring your brain. In some cases, subjects have reported feeling the effects for up to three months after exposing themselves to the image.

01 mccollough effectTake a good long look at this grid, because it might be some time before you see it in its original form again

What’s even more interesting about this is that there doesn’t exist any scientific consensus on the actual cause of this phenomenon. McCollough’s original paper on the subject sparked literally hundreds of other scientific papers, but there has been no conclusive explanation about what happens when your brain has “learned” the image.

Yes, the brain learns or adapts to what it is shown when trying to induce the McCollough Effect. This is done by forcing the brain to “adapt” to the image for a minimum of two minutes, but there have been tests of up to 15 minutes as well.

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Stop Talking, I’m Ready for This

The McCollough Effect is easy to activate. Just remember to stare approximately at the centre of each image, allowing the eyes to move around a little. This video will present the images in the recommended order and, for safety’s sake, it will run for just over two minutes so as not to risk altering your brain for too long.

What Am I Looking At?

If you watched the entire video and followed the instructions, then the gratings should appear tinted by the opposite colour to that of the induction gratings – horizontal should appear greenish and vertical pinkish. Furthermore, if you rotate the image 90 degrees either way, the colours will switch on each panel – the one that was horizontal and greenish will now be vertical and pinkish.

The bad news is that you’re stuck with this for a while. But since the video was short, it won’t last for too long. Just try not to be around any black-and-white striped tops any time in next few hours – it’ll drive you crazy.

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Grid Image via Wikipedia Commons

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