People mind-blown over 'creepy' video which causes the brain to 'hallucinate'
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Featured Image Credit: YouTube/ TangenCognitionLab
People are flooding to social media over a 'terrifying' illusion which distorts people's faces.
You may've thought your mind plays enough tricks on you already, when you get a moment of deja-vu for instance, but apparently there's more to add to the list.
If you wanted to feel like you're in an episode of Stranger Things or have gone into battle against some Orcs without even turning on your TV then look no further. Prepare to sleep a little less soundly tonight:
Tangen Cognition Lab - a team of researchers who delve into a whole host of mind-boggling topics such as judgement, decision making, metascience and rationality - created a 'shocking illusion' which leads to faces distorting in a viewer's mind.
The video - uploaded to YouTube back in 2011 - shows two faces on the screen, either side of a '+'.
The video asks viewers to focus on the cross as it flicks through different pairs of faces.
And it's fair to say, the experience is pretty petrifying.
People are flooding to the post in horror over the optical illusion.
One YouTuber user wrote: "This is quite terrifying."
"I watched it at the cross in the center the first time, then watched each side separately before watching the center again a final time, what I can say is no matter if you know what the faces actually look like, that still won't stop your brain from creating monsters when you do this correctly. Some of those faces are..." Another added.
A third joked: "You can get WILDLY different results if you close one eye and look at different places on the screen. I tried looking a little lefter and almost all of them lost eyes or all facial features. Some real scary stuff."
"Wow.... Best illusion I've seen for years, possibly in my life. How on earth they figured this out is beyond me. It's incredible!!" A fourth added.
And a final resolved: "Upon first watching I simply wondered how this team put together such grotesque or frakensteined faces, then when re-watching only individual faces at a time I realized the faces were relatively normal. Anyone have an explanation for why our brain creates these horrific depictions?"
Thankfully, we're not hallucinating as there is indeed an explanation for why the faces turn into such monsters in our minds.
Tangen Lab explains on its website: "In 2010, Sean Murphy — an honours student in the lab - was 'eye aligning' hundreds of faces for a memory experiment we were about to run. He noticed that when he quickly flicked through the faces on the screen one-by-one, they began to appear highly distorted and even monstrous.
"For example, if a person had a large jaw, it looked particularly large, almost ogre-like. If a person had a slender nose, then it looked remarkably thin. The faces appeared to be almost like caricatures. When Sean stopped, the faces appeared normal again.
"We described this basic finding as a flashed face distortion effect (Tangen, Murphy, & Thompson, 2011). [...] We have conducted dozens of experiments since then to figure out how to optimise the effect; we developed an elegant way to quantify its strength, and used multidimensional scaling to predict which faces would appear most distorted."