‘Crocs & Socks’ illusion baffles viewers over the actual color

Crocs often cause heated debates, with style gurus claiming the clogs are a crime against fashion.

But now, the much-maligned shoes are setting off an additional argument, thanks to an optical illusion created by professors Pascal Wallisch and Michael Karlovich similar to “The Dress” of 2015.

The duo created a short video asking viewers to guess what color Crocs they believe they are seeing on-screen.

The clip initially begins by showing two pairs of the rubbery sandals — one pair pink and the other green.

The creators then shine a green light on one pair of the Crocs, which are teamed with a pair of socks. The green light makes the shoes appear to turn a shade of gray, while the socks are green.

Wallisch and Karlovich then ask viewers to guess whether they are looking at the pink Crocs or the green Crocs under the green light.

Naturally, most people assume they are looking at the green Crocs — but, in reality, viewers are actually looking at the pink pair of shoes.

“Under green lights, pink objects look gray and white objects look green,” Wallisch and Karlovich explain. “This illusion demonstrates the role of beliefs in color perception.”

The professors say that a small number of viewers are able to “look past appearances” and think more analytically, therefore guessing correctly that they are looking at the pink pair of shoes.

The green light turns the Crocs a shade of gray. When asked whether they are looking at green Crocs or pink Crocs under the green light, most people guess green. However, Wallisch and Karlovich say a small number of viewers are able to “look past appearances” and think more analytically.
Pascal Wallisch & Michael Karlov

“Under normal lighting conditions, all people see the Crocs as pink. When put under green light, most people see the same Crocs as gray. However, some people — those who believe the socks are white, even though they appear green — are able to look past appearances and see the Crocs as pink, just like they did under regular light,” the professors stated.

Wallisch and Karlovich further say that “prior experience colors perception.”

The optical illusion brings to mind fervent debate about the color of a dress back in 2015.

Millions of people saw the frock as either black and blue, while others saw it as gold and white.

In 2017, Wallisch spoke out about that illusion in an interview, saying it was differences in perception that caused assumptions about the dress’ color.

The professor said that those who thought that the dress was photographed in a shadow most likely saw the garment as gold and white.

But those who thought it was illuminated by artificial light were more likely to see it as black and blue — its actual colors.


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