Beware The Purple Nurple

Warning: If the following illusion makes you nauseous or dizzy, please scroll down to the next post.

The Purple Nurple, as this illusion is called, is what’s known as an anomalous motion illusion (sometimes grouped in with animation optical illusions), whereby a series of shapes and colors creates the appearance of movement while staying completely still. The illusion style was first created, studied and perfected by Professor Akiyoshi Kitaoka, who noticed that certain images appear to move when viewed with your peripheral vision.

The effect is utterly surreal, making the viewer feel as though he or she is on some type of psychedelic drug, even if he or she has never messed with the stuff before. This particular image was created by Walter Anthony.

37 Replies to “Beware The Purple Nurple”

  1. The movement in the illusion depends on my eyes moving (saccades). If I hold my eyes still, I can see the picture “as it is”.

  2. Oh, wow. I feel like you have totally commandeered my sense of sight. Well done! P.S. Are shirts available?

    1. I don’t rate your chances of survival in a bank raid wearing a shirt with this on it,
      “Hands up Nobody MOVE!!”

  3. Wicked illusion. Reminds me of the 60’s and 70’s acid head posters. LOL, w/OUT the acid !! Seriously though, nice effects.

  4. Hey Jill,
    nauseous is not the way something makes you feel it is an adjective. When somthing makes you sick to your stomach you are nauseated. If you are nauseaous you make others sick to their stomach or nauseated.
    A common error but I thought you may want to know.

  5. Cool but it kinda gave me a small headache =). Okay just real quick how the heck did you look at this site at this site at 2:29 Rochelle Kris? :>

  6. 1. Wasn’t this here before? If it was, Jill, please don’t repost them.
    2. It’s nauseated :)
    3. Most of us know it.

  7. This is a great illusion! I don’t even have to use my peripheral vision…..just have to drink too much coffee. LOL

    And to Aaron, ZL and Jill…..who cares if it’s nauseous or nauseated, we get the point. And if it’s been posted before, just move on and wait for the next one. SOME OF US ARE NEW HERE AND HAVEN’T SEEN THEM ALL.

    1. Agreed, this is one of my iGoogle gadjets along with sports scores, jokes of the day, and other distractions like a deduction game I’m addicted to…
      Keep it coming!

  8. Omg reading the description part and all I can see in my bottom peripheral vision, is this purple moving shape it was…

    where’s this next post to scroll down too?

  9. I am going to try and explian this illusion. I say “try” because I might be totally wrong.

    I am an architectural lighitng designer and take an interest in how we see to understand how to better light buildings and spaces. Lets start with how we see. Our eyes have

    light receptors on the retina located at the back of our eye-balls. The receptors come in two flavors: cones (photopic/day vision) & rods (scotopic/night vision). The cones

    see color, higher light levels, and are concentrated in the center of the retina to aide in seeing details.There are three types of cones that see red, green & blue, just like

    the pixels on a TV. Rods see mostly shades of grey, lower light levels, and are more uniformly distributed on the retina. When light (energy) strikes the receptors an eletro-

    chemical reaction occurs, sending an electrical signal to the brain where we process and percieve the image.

    The colors used on the image (purple & green) are complimentary colors. That means they are “opposites”. To the eye that means that when we see green only the green receptors

    are stimulated. For the purple color, the red & blue receptors are stimulated. Conversely at the area seeing green, the red & blue receptors are not being stimulated (let’s

    call it “resting”). And the same for the purple areas where the green receptors are not being stimlated. Also note that there are white and black areas between the colors,

    white is all colors and black is the absence of color.

    Enough already you say…ok here goes. As some folks noted if you can focus on one spot the motion stops. This is key. You have all probably experienced “after images” when

    viewing somthing bright like a photo flash. That is the result of the receptors being “overloaded”. What is happening in this illusion is that as you move your focus slightly

    you are alernately stimulateing the complimentary receptors, because the colors are complimentary the un-stimulated receptors are very sensitive to the complimentary color,

    and they initially react quickly and strongly, creating very distinct afterimages, but not the blinding type of afterimages. The smaller black and white areas add to the

    effect by creating areas of complete “resting” or total stimulation, so as those images cross the area of an afterimage a secondary afterimage occurs. So the movement that we

    see is basically as series of overlapping afterimages that persist long enough, and change position slightly enough to make our minds percieve movement. The illusion works

    better in the periphrial vision because the cones are less dense in that area so the greater spacing emphasizes the movement. So…If we focus on one spot the afterimages do

    not overlap and the motion stops…

  10. Sorry about the odd spacing above. I copied the text from a text editor and thats what happened…I would fix it if I could:)

  11. Keep your eyes on the + and the celebrities will look weirdly distorted.


  12. with regards to this pic, if u move ur eyes in 360 motion, the center, though u r not focused on it, moves constantly

  13. I saw a picture that said “CAN’T TELL IF GIF OR IMAGE”[img][/img]

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