Science Explains Why This Lemon Isn’t Actually Yellow

Jul 6, 2015 at 11:56 am |
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lemons not yellow

(Photo by commons.wikimedia.org)

Everybody knows that ripe lemons are yellow. It’s a fact of life, like how the Sun rises in the East, water will get you wet, and all Nicolas Cage movies suck (except for National Treasure).


But here’s the real kicker: the lemons you are looking at are not yellow. I repeat — they’re not yellow. At least, not in the way you think they are.

Did you know that your computer only produces red, blue, and green light? That means any other colors you see on your desktop, laptop, or mobile device are just the result of your brain playing a trick on you. When you see a lemon in person, you’re actually seeing natural yellow light reflecting off of the sour fruit’s surface, but when you look at the lemons in the picture above or the video below, the “yellow” you see is just a trick of the eyes.

yellow pixels

No yellow here! (Photo by YouTube/ Vsauce)

Our eyes detect color by using cones and then passing that information along to the brain. Cones, however, are most adept at picking up blue, green, and red. We perceive all other colors via our cones picking up combinations of these three main sensors, so computers and other screens then use this knowledge to essentially trick our brains. By utilizing the right amount of pixels that activate our red and green color sensors, our brain automatically decides that the picture we’re looking at–a lemon in this case–is meant to appear as yellow.

So does that mean that our brains are super smart, or easily fooled? Watch the video below for an explanation about this awesome phenomenon. Then SHARE this article and prove to your friends that lemons aren’t as yellow as they think!


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See this lemon? It isn’t yellow at all. You won’t believe the tricks your brain has been playing on you!