Can you see the man’s smiling face? Psychologist shows off incredible illusion

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.

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Other users report being able to see the image more clearly on mobile phones.



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.’

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