As this image gets larger, what do you see?
Most people will pick out a phantom-like picture of Albert Einstein. But if you see a Hollywood pin-up, you may need a trip to the opticians.
At normal viewing distance, healthy eyes should be able to pick up the fine lines on Einstein’s face, causing the brain to disregard Marilyn Monroe’s image altogether.
HOW DOES THE ILLUSION WORK?
The image was created by superimposing a blurry picture of Monroe over a picture of Albert Einstein drawn in fine lines.
Features with a high spatial frequency (Einstein) are only visible when your viewing them close up, and those with low spatial frequencies (Monroe) are only visible from further away.
Combining pictures of the two produces a single image which changes when the viewer moves closer or farther away from the screen.
This classic optical illusion was created several years ago by neuroscientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In a recent video, AsapScience highlighted the process behind the trick, which can also be seen in a still image by anyone if they move closer and then farther away from the screen.
‘Depending on how well you’re able to focus or pick up contrast your eye will only pick out details,’ the video explains.
‘Up close, we’re generally able to pick up fine details like Einstein’s moustache and wrinkles.
‘But as the distance increases, or if your vision is poor and creates a more blurred image in the first place, your ability to pick up details fades away.
‘Instead you only see general features, like the shape of mouth, nose and hair, and are left seeing Marilyn Monroe. ‘
The MIT team, led by Dr Aude Oliva, has spent over a decade creating hybrid optical illusions that show how images can be hidden with textures, words and other objects.