Key to All Optical Illusions Discovered

Aug 31, 2007
Hartford, CT
I have to agree with that - it's just a theory right now. I can't imagine why it would work on optical illusions where there are two squares with the same shade of grey but one is surrounded by a black background, one surrounded by a white background. One grey square will seem darker than the other, even though they are the same shade.

Anyway, I think the link under the article is even more interesting:
Sep 1, 2007
MitchellStafiej said:
It's still a theory...

I have to agree with that - it's just a theory right now. I can't imagine why it would work on optical illusions where there are two squares with the same shade of grey but one is surrounded by a black background, one surrounded by a white background. One grey square will seem darker than the other, even though they are the same shade.

ok, listen guys, i didn't really like your comments, because it seems like i have to explain a couple of things:

first, and most important, you don't know what theory means!
theory as a scientific term has a whole different meaning than in your everyday sense. when you talk about a theory, it's just something you made up which might or might not be true or might or might not work when you put it to the test.
in science though, almost everything is a theory, and that's because there just never is 100% certainty, and real scientist aren't arrogant and just assume a 100% certainty, and that's why it's always a theory. other than your average theory, a scientific theory has to be proofed by experiments, and people are constantly trying to disprove all kinds of theories, but as long as a theory can't be disproved it is valid. a good example is einsteins theory of relativity. it has been a theory since einstein came up with it, and it still is a theory today, but it is taught in schools and colleges around the world, because no one could disprove it yet. just because einsteins theory of relativity is taught and hasn't been disproved yet doesn't mean that it is a fact, neither that it is 100% certain to be true. maybe future generations will disprove it and find another, possibly more complex theory about the same things.

ok, so this is for you OwnerM: for some information about what theory means please read the part above.
after that you can continue here: let me ask you why do you think it matters weather this theory works with your squares or whatever matters at all? what you said just had nothing at all to do with what was in the article. the article said that the theory could be used to explain alot of optical illusions, which is NOT saying it explains every optical illusion, and your example isn't that hard to explain because it's just about the contrast, no matter what the colours are, bright things always seem brighter on a dark background than they do on a bright background, and vice versa, and that is just because you can't isolate the object, you always see the background too, but if you wanted to really figure out the difference in colour between two objects you would hold them together or at least look at them in the same environment. furthermore it was a breakthrough in science to discover whatever they discovered (i'm not gonna repeat the whole article here), and i believe it should be treated with a little respect, especially by laymen, so saying something like "uhm, i guess it won't work with this or that" isn't very smart or productive.
i know it's hard discussing something very complex and scientific, simply because none of us (i just dare to make this assumption) knows exactly what is going on and how it actually works, you get my point, we just aren't scientists.

alright, i guess that's it.
finally i want to say don't be too offended by what i said (a little bit is ok ;-) ), it might sound a little bit rude here and there, just keep in mind even if you say something that is stupid in my opinion i still love you. xoxo
Dec 14, 2007
I first encountered the Neural Lag concept in Daniel Dennet's Consciousness Explained. It is an interesting theory and is responsible for some amazing phenomena. But as the writer above me pointed out, it is not responsible for ALL optical illusions.

As to the Cornsweet illusion (the gray squares) there is a different theory that attempts to explain that as well. You can read about it in "Why We See What We Do: An Empirical Theory of Vision" by Lotto. For some fun though, visit and try some of the experiments.

Brad Henderson
Aug 31, 2007
Hartford, CT
Hawk7, I don't take offense, but please let me explain myself. And I ask that please no one take offense back. :)

First off, no, I am not a scientist. But I am a big fan of science and a big skeptic. Being a stage hypnotist, I make it a point to separate the "supernatural" from the science. I don't believe in god, I don't believe in the healing power of crystals, I don't believe in "big foot" or UFOs, ghosts, psychic powers, etc, etc.

Even with hypnosis, if you notice my posts in the recent hypnosis threads, I tell it as it is, without the "supernatural" stuff, no miracles, etc. I do the same with my performances, I explain to my audience that what I do is not supernatural and it's something normal we all pretty much do anyway.

With that being said, I will admit that this was the first time I've ever encountered this theory. And yes, it is a theory and I do understand what a theory is. But sorry, because I'm a very skeptical person and I just like to check all my thoughts before I make a quick acceptance of one article. I like to ask questions, and I'm not afraid of asking what may seem to be a stupid question so that I can get the all facts and get them straight in my head. Hence, the example I brought up.

Also, I as I've stated, I do know what a theory is. However, I've heard the word "theory" mis-used a lot myself. I've heard it used in conjuction with "Intelligent Design", "Crop Circles", "Healing by Magnets", "Astrial Projection" and other nonsense that people freely call a "theory". So when someone sticks that word in a sentance, I don't automatically accept it.

I don't mind being corrected if I am wrong. I'm wrong a lot, and being wrong is something I do very well, hence the stupid questions I sometimes ask... :)

And I understand the "tone" of your post. I've been guilty of it too. :) So all is fine, but I still like Brad Henderson's reply better.

Finally, I don't want to be a hypocrite either. I may not believe in the things I've listed above, but that doesn't mean I don't repect other people opinion or beliefs. So to anyone reading this, if I've stated anything that you believe that I don't, please don't take offense that I don't agree with you. If you want to debate, however, I'll be happy to do that. :)
Sep 3, 2007
I wish people would understand the term theory better. A theory does not become 'fact', it explains a set of facts or data. A theory cannot be proved correct, only supported by evidence. Proofs are for maths
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