A Japanese psychologist with a fondness for optical illusions has baffled the internet with his latest – a picture of a man’s smiling face, which just looks like a blank grid.
But there really is a face in there: you just have to work a bit harder to see it.
Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a psychology professor at Ritsumeikan University in Japan, produced the image with a grid layered over a low-contrast image.
There’s various tricks you can use to make the image clearer, Kitaoka says – including standing at a distance, viewing the image at an angle or simply scrolling up and down with a mouse.
Other users report being able to see the image more clearly on mobile phones.
— Akiyoshi Kitaoka (@AkiyoshiKitaoka) March 22, 2017
Kitaoka – who has a long-standing interest in such illusions, and has produced album covers for bands – Tweeted the image out with the words, ‘One of my portraits.’
In an explanation of how it works, he said, ‘High-spatial-frequency components disturb the perception of low-contrast objects, a masking phenomenon.’