Flashed Face Distortion Effect

If you’ve read my book “The Three Illusions”, you already know that the world we think we see around us is an illusion of the senses. Our eyes take in photons, which are turned into electrical signals, sent to the brain, which then interprets them into what it thinks we are looking at. The brain literally just MAKES IT UP.

But brains aren’t perfect – by a long stretch. Which is why optical illusions are so much fun. And this is one of the best.

The below videos demonstrate what’s known as the “Flashed Face Distortion Effect” — an optical illusion first described last year by University of Queensland researchers Jason Tangen, Sean Murphy and Matthew Thompson.

We describe a novel face distortion effect resulting from the fast-paced presentation of eye-aligned faces. When cycling through the faces on a computer screen, each face seems to become a caricature of itself and some faces appear highly deformed, even grotesque. The degree of distortion is greatest for faces that deviate from the others in the set on a particular dimension (eg if a person has a large forehead, it looks particularly large). This new method of image presentation, based on alignment and speed, could provide a useful tool for investigating contrastive distortion effects and face adaptation.

If you haven’t seen them before these will blow your mind.

Here’s a version with pretty girls:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM6lGNhPujE]

Here’s another version, this time with Hollywood celebrities:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VT9i99D_9gI]

(HT: io9)

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