(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)
An optical illusion created by researchers at the University of Queensland makes normal people appear as horrific distortions.
Called the Flashed Face Distortion Effect, this optical illusion was discovered quite by accident by Sean Murphy, a psychology student at the University of Queensland. He was flicking rapidly through a set of photographs of faces when he noticed that they started to appear warped and ugly.
After working with colleagues Jason Tangen and Matthew Thompson on the phenomenon, the trio came up with a hypothesis as to why the eyes perceive the faces this way.
According to Thompson's blog:
The effect seems to depend on processing each face in light of the others. By aligning the faces at the eyes and presenting them quickly, it becomes much easier to compare them, so the differences between the faces are more extreme. If someone has a large jaw, it looks almost ogre like. If they have an especially large forehead, then it looks particularly bulbous. We're conducting several experiments right now to figure out exactly what's causing this effect, so watch this space!
However it works, it's certainly trippy, and it left our poor little heads reeling.
You can read the preliminary paper online here (PDF); and try its effects out for yourself by watching the YouTube videos below.