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The Tie - Green Or A Duck
02 Mar 15

The internet was in chaos last week over what colour Phil's tie is. Is it green or a duck? It seemed like no one could agree and it had everyone baffled. Not only could no one agree on the colour of Phil's tie but the question seemed to have split the internet in two camps; the green camp and the duck camp. Finally there seems to be an answer to the question.

It turns out that the answer lies in the way the human eye actually works. You see the human eye and brain have evolved to see colour in a sunlit world, and because light changes that leaves room for optical illusions. What is happening here is that light enters the eye through the lens where light is interpreted into different colors depending on the wavelengths being captured. Light hits the retina at the back of the eye where pigments fire up neural connections to the Visual Cortex (that's the part of the brain that processes all of this into images). Easy so far right? 

So then why do some people see a green tie while others see a duck?

Many people simply believed that the image of Phil's tie was Photoshopped or possibly just two separate images of two different ties, one green and the other a duck. Others believed that magic, possibly the same magic that gave life to Phil in the first place was behind this illusion. However the answer actually lies in science and is actually really easy to explain.

Well, says Phil "What’s happening here is that your visual system, which is influenced by the retina and visual cortex, is looking at my tie while also trying to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis,”. It's as simple as that really.

So is the tie green or a duck? The answer is in fact that it is both. It just depends on your perception, angle of sight and the time of day. 


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