Scientists have uncovered the mystery of one of the most famous optical illusions

CC0 / William Ely Hill / Opticheski illusion William Ely hill My wife and mother-in-law, published in the journal of the Young humor 6 Nov 1915Scientists have uncovered the mystery of one of the most famous optical illusionsCC0 / William Ely Hill / Subscribe to the daily newsletter of the RIA Science

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MOSCOW, 22 sen — news. The perception of the images in the painting «My wife and my mother-in-law», which is one of the most famous optical illusions, depends on the age of the person. To such conclusion the group of scientists from Flinders University and the University of South Australia. The result of their work published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Feature of the painting is that in one person are two: a young woman (standing facing the viewer sees only her nose, the part of the eye, the ear and the neck with a necklace) and an elderly woman (standing in profile, visible to both eyes, hooked nose, mouth, and chin).

The study involved 666 people from 22 countries (mostly Americans – 393) aged 18 to 68 years (mean age 33 years).

Initially, the subjects were asked to look at the picture and ask who they think they see an animal or person. If they saw someone, they asked about gender, and only in the case of a correct answer (female), learned the age of one.

The results showed that people under 30 often saw a young woman (in this case the younger was a member of the experiment, the smaller the age, he attributed to the girl in the picture). People older than 30 years often saw the old lady.

The image «My wife and mother-in-law» first appeared on a German postcard from 1888. In 1915, his version was presented by the cartoonist William Ely hill. In 1930 psychologist Edving båring used the picture in the article, «a New ambiguous figure», after which it began to publish in the textbooks as an example of visual optical illusions.