1. Have a blank sheet of WHITE paper laying on your desk.
2. Stare at the nose in the center of the image for 20 seconds.
3. Quickly look from the computer screen to the blank sheet of paper.
What or who do you see?
It’s Sherri – our wonderful Mind Tripping Guest Relations Manager – who you see as a real image, flesh color and all!
So how is this possible? Well it is something called an Afterimage or Ghost Image. In Sherri’s case it is a negative afterimage because when you look at the white paper, you see Sherri in color. Her skin is flesh tone and she is wearing a black blouse. It all occurs because of the cones and rods in our eyes. As you stare at the negative of a photograph for a period of time, the eye’s photoreceptors start to fatigue and lose sensitivity. Some cones fatigue quicker than others and it takes more time for them to start firing up again. So when you look at the bright white paper, some cells fire immediately and you see the inverted image. Those that fire slower eventually catch up and the image fades. This is why the afterimage usually lasts only a few seconds because that’s all it takes for the eyes to adjust back to normal and all the cones to fire again.
It is normal to see afterimages, however, there is a visual disturbance called “Palinopsia” where a person sees afterimages more quickly, more often, and more intensely.
The web has a lot of other After Images for you to play around with so go have fun!