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THIS brain-boggling optical illusion really requires you to read between the lines.
Hidden within the throng of black and white bars is a picture of an animal – can you guess what it is?
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There are a few tricks to help you see the obscured creature – such as looking at it while shaking your head or standing at an angle.
The most effective seems to be staring at the grid while moving away from your phone or PC.
The further away you get, the clearer the furry face should become.
If you’re still stumped, here’s a clue: It’s a popular house pet that was deified by the Ancient Egyptians.
The answer, of course, is a cat. Try looking back at the image now you know the solution: The feline should appear more readily.
It’s a new take on the famous Magic Eye illusions, which used swirls of dots or lines to hide a 3D image.
Earlier this month, The Sun spoke to Dr Gustav Kuhn, a psychologist and human perception expert at Goldsmiths University in London, about a similar illusion that obscures the face of Michael Jackson.
He said that the trick takes advantage of how our brains process information.
“Our eyes encode vast amounts of messy sensory information, and our brain uses clever tricks to disambiguate this information to try and make sense of what it is we are looking at,” Dr Kuhn said.
“What you see is results of vast amounts of neural computation, mixed with a bit of guesswork.
“For example, when you stare at a bunch of trees, you can interpret this as a forest, or a tree.
“What you are seeing depends on which aspect of the scene you are focusing on.
Dr Khun compared the MJ illusion to a similar monochrome-grid puzzle that obscures an image of a panda.
“In the panda illusion, information is encoded at different scales, and depending on how which scale you focus on (i.e. the trees or the forest) you will either see a bunch of lines, or the bigger picture – the panda.”
Professor Fiona Macpherson, an expert at the University of Glasgow’s Illusion Index, explained why moving further from the image makes the hidden character clearer.
She told The Sun: “The panda image has a certain spatial frequency when it is a certain distance away from you.
“The closer the image is to you the lower the spatial frequency and the further away it is the higher the spatial frequency.
“In short, there are more black and white lines that fall on the light-sensitive portion of the back of your eye the further the image is away from you.”
In 2017, a similar puzzle was shared online by Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a psychology professor at Ritsumeikan University in Japan.
His version featured his own face and was described by the academic as a “masking phenomenon”.
The prolific illusion-maker added: “High-spatial-frequency components disturb the perception of low-contrast objects.”
The visual trick has even made its way into pop culture.
It featured on the cover for Soulwax’s 2005 album “NY Excuse”, which at first glance looks like a monochrome grid.
However, upon closer inspection, the name of the artist and the album are buried in the top right corner.
In 2009, psychedelic rock band Black Lips released their album “200 Million Thousand” with a cover similar to Soulwax’s.
But instead of the album title and artists, a face was hidden between the lines.
Optical illusions are often just a bit of fun, but they also hold real value for scientists.
The brain puzzles help researchers shed light on the inner workings of the mind and how it reacts to its surroundings.
Dr Kuhn added that illusions are important to our understanding of the brain.
“We typically take perception for granted, and rarely think about the hard work that underpins everyday tasks, such as seeing a cup of coffee in front of you,” he told The Sun.
“Visual illusions highlight errors in perception, and they provide important glimpses into the hidden neural processes that allow us to see the world around us.”
It follows the release of a spooky illusion earlier this month that makes the viewer feel as though they are tumbling into a black hole.
ANSWERS TO ILLUSIONS: Cat; panda; Michael Jackson; John Lennon
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