Madonna

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Strange face images

The brain is extremely good at recognizing human faces and is believed to have a special module or part that is responsible for analyzing faces
(Carter, Rita; Frith, Christopher. (1999). Mapping the mind. University of California Press).

This module is obviously very handy, but it can also play nasty tricks with our perception.


Look at the image here to the right. You will most certainly recognize the famous singer and actress Madonna. The photo is upside down, but otherwise it seems normal to you, right?

Well, prepare yourself for a mind-boggler.


The image to the LEFT is is the same image as before, only rotated 180° to be "right". Not a pretty sight, is it? If you don’t believe me, print the image or copy it to a graphics editor and rotate it 180° again.

The image on the RIGHT is the original image for comparison. What a relief! (Original image courtesy of: WireImage.com)

What? How? In the funky image I have taken Madonna’s eyes and mouth and rotated them 180°. In addition I switched the right and left eyes (we are also extremely good at recognizing only eyes).

We are not used to faces being this way and therefore the face recognition module assumes all is in order and even recognizes the face. When we turn it around, the face recognition module instantly sees that something is terribly wrong.

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