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Mr. Angry and Mrs. Smiles

Created by Aude Oliva (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA)
and Philippe G. Schyns (University of Glasgow, Glasgo,w UK)

On a close-up view, you can see on the left face, an angry man and on the right face, a woman with a neutral facial emotion. But if you squint (or move back far enough from the screen, or do a little of both), the faces change expression and even genders! An angry man should substitute for the face of the woman and the left angry face should not be angry anymore.

This illustrates the ability of the visual system to separate information coming from different spatial frequency channels. In the right image, high Spatial Frequencies (HSF) represent a woman with a neutral facial expression, mixed with the low spatial frequency (LSF) information from the face of an angry man. On the left, the face of the angry man is represented in fine details whereas the underlying female face is made of blur only ("blobs")

The above two ambiguous faces, termed hybrid faces, are published in the journal Cognition, 69, 243-265, 1999. Elsevier publisher

Now try it with Marilyn Einstein ;-)

Or, check out the latest hybrid dolphin transportation vehicle:

[Click the image to see an animated version.]

Strangely Painted Rooms

The Disappearing Pink Dots

If your eyes follow the movement of the blinking pink dot, you will only see one color, pink. If you stare at the Magic Yo in the center, the moving dot turns to green. Now, concentrate on the Yo in the center of the picture. After a short period of time, the rotating green dot will start to erase the pink dots, which will slowly disappear, and, if you are patient enough, you will only see a green dot rotating! Don't try to make it happen; just try to focus your eyes steadily on the Yo the center.

[To download this animation, right-click on the Magic Yo, and then choose "Save
the picture/image." For the best effect, open the saved file with your browser.]

It's amazing how our brain works. There really is no green dot at all, and the pink ones really don't disappear. Here are the actual frames that comprise this animated gif:

With this one, it doesn't seem to matter where you look.
Eventually, one or more of the yellow dots will disappear:

Here's Another Kind
of Amazing Illusion

All of this should be proof enough: We don't see What-Really-Is-Out-There (WRIOT).

Da Da, Da Da, Da Da: An Audioptic Illusion

Finally, here's an audioptic illusion. Listen and watch the man say, "Da Da, Da Da, Da Da." When you are sure about what you are seeing and hearing, close your eyes and listen again. After you hear what he is really saying, (with your eyes closed), try to hear that while watching him talk. Click here when you are ready to try this one.

Or close your eyes again and listen to this endlessly rising sequence of sounds:

You may need to install or update Adobe Flash Player to listen to this audio file.

More Illusions and What Illusions Tell Us about the Nature of Reality

If you didn't come here from our "Uncanny Illusions" pages, click here to see more illusions and a discussion of what illusions tell us about the nature of Reality. And if you haven't seen the Magic Yo (which simulates the visual effects of an LSD trip), check out the link at the bottom of this page.

And here's a picture to meditate on when you're stoned ;-)

Motionless Rotating Circles

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