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The Morphing Face Illusion


(YouTube link)

The illusion comprises a morphing sequence between two faces. The observer has to fixate a dot superimposed on the morph. When the dot is moving, morphing can hardly be seen. However, when the dot suddenly stops, the morphing appears surprisingly strong. Subtle differences in, e.g., the shape of the eyes, the color of the skin, and even gender characteristics are ‘blown-up’ perceptually. Apparently, such differences between faces are easily overlooked when following a moving-dot, but are highly salient when our eyes rest at a single point on the morphing faces.

This illusion by Rob van Lier and Arno Koning is one of the ten finalists in the Best Illusion of the Year 2011 contest. See them all at the contest site. Link


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This is complete nonsense.

Put your hand or any object over the red dot.

Now, watch the rest of the face and tell me that the chin eyebrows are not moving( morphing )

Load of crap.
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This probably works for someone whose brain isn't always in "hyper" mode. My eyes - and mind - get bored when moving at such slow speeds as that dot, and my gaze flickers around the rest of the face while following the dot's movements, so the weakening of the morph was minimal, if it happened at all. What I'm trying to say is this illusion only works on people who can focus very hard, and whose eyes have the capability to stay on a set path of focus. Mine do not.
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I have to admit, I was not impressed. I'm still not sure I saw the supposed effect after a few viewings. Almost every optical illusion I have ever seen on the web is much better.
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