Einstein or Monroe?

This optical illusion works with a number of different faces, but the most common version is seen with the faces of Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein. A hybrid image is constructed by combining two images. For instance, looking at the picture from a short distance, one can see a sharp image of Einstein, with only a hint of blurry distortion hinting at the presence of an overlaid image. Viewed from a distance in which the fine detail blurs, the unmistakable face of Monroe emerges.

A hybrid image is perceived one of two ways, all depending on distance. Optical illusions such as these function by combining low spatial frequencies of one picture with the high spatial frequencies of another picture. The concept of binocular rivalry illustrates this optical illusion. Rivalry greatly suppresses activity in the ventral pathway and attenuates visual adaptation to form and motion. Inhibitory and excitatory circuits considered within a hybrid model might account for the paradoxical properties of binocular rivalry.


One response to “Einstein or Monroe?”

  1. Aiswarya Nagasubramony says:

    I really like this illusion, as well as your explanation behind why we see this illusion as it is. I am amazed at what distance can do to perception in such an illusion.

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