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Colour-changing hat illusion is hurting our heads

Two photos of a hat that are seemingly different colours.
(Image credit: Oteliacarmen/Future)

An unassuming bobble hat is currently at the centre of a viral TikTok post, as it seemingly changes colour from one room to the next. A TikTokker shared a video of a brown cable knit hat that seems to magically swap to a shade of green, and plenty of people are completely baffled, including us. 

Some TikTok users are calling it the next white/gold dress debate, as people can't decide what the actual colour of the hat is. Confused about how colours work? Then check out our guide on colour theory.

@oteliacarmen

Why lighting should be just as important as color/material selections!! ##interiordesign ##learnontiktok ##designertips ##colortheory ##shopwithme

♬ Do It To It - ACRAZE

The TikTok posted by OteliaCarmen has accumulated over a whopping 4M views already. In the video, Carmen says that the reason the hat changes colour is because of Metamerism. According to ScienceDirect, "Metamerism is the colour change seen in a coloured item because of different spectral emissions from different light sources," so to put it simply, the colour of the hat was affected by different lighting. 

It seems as though the internet are just as confused as we are, and many have responded to the colour-changing hat in the comment section of the original TikTok. One user commented, "I'm just going to scroll past because I don't have time to think right now," and another simply responded, "My mind is blown". There were also a couple of comments that tickled us; one user replied to the post, "Imagine having to explain the reason for returning the hat," and another made a hilarious nod to the white and gold dress debacle with the comment, "I left this problem in 2015. I don't have the energy anymore". 

Even Carmen, who bought the hat, is unsure what the actual colour is meant to be –despite checking its label and trying to contact the manufacturers. This might just have to remain as one of the internet's great optical illusion mysteries. Fancy having a go at creating your own optical illusions? Then make sure you check out our guide on how to create 3D optical illusions.

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Amelia Bamsey

Amelia Bamsey is Creative Bloq’s Staff Writer. After accomplishing a first class honours degree in Popular Music and a Master’s in Song Writing, Amelia began designing posters, logos, album covers and websites for musicians. She now enjoys covering many design topics on Creative Bloq, including posters, gaming and illustration. In her free time, she relishes in the likes of art (especially the Pre-Raphaelites), photography and literature. Amelia prides herself on her unorthodox creative methods, her Animal Crossing island and her extensive music library.