Optical illusion could make your face look thinner – but only from a certain angle

THE 'fat face thin illusion' shows that flipping a picture upside down can make any subject's face appear longer and thinner.

The trick is possible because the brain's perception of a face's internal features like eyes, mouth, and nose is used to judge the shape of a face — and when inverted, that judgment isn't possible.

Upon comparing the flipped picture of James Corden's face next to the right-side-up version of it, you might notice that the upside-down one seems to look like an entirely different face.

Psychologist Peter Thompson of York University used a picture of Corden to show that though the pictures are identical, his upside-down round-shaped face seems elongated next to the right-side-up picture.

The illusion appears to work on round faces or thin faces, despite its name.

"It is not the case that an inverted face reverts to some average shape whereby fat faces appear thinner upside down whereas thin faces appear fatter," Thompson and fellow psychologist Jennie Wilson concluded.

"The fact that the illusion appears to occur for most face shapes is discussed with regard to the horizontal-vertical illusion."

The horizontal-vertical illusion is the common misperception that vertical lines are longer than horizontal lines — even when both are the same length.

The fat face thin illusion is reminiscent of the Thatcher effect, which also plays on the perception of inverted facial features.

Pictures that play with the Thatcher effect usually leave a few facial features, such as the eyes or lips, right side up while flipping the rest of the picture upside down.

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Though half of the features aren't inverted, viewers can rarely tell the difference because it's more difficult to detect local feature changes in an upside-down face.

The effect has been around since 1980 when a scientist created what's thought to be the first iteration.

It was shown in a paper by Thompson and featured a doctored image of former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

The snap of her face was flipped 180-degrees while her eyes and mouth were inverted.

Upside down she looked normal, while when upright she looked grotesque — resulting in the illusion sometimes being called the Thatcher effect.

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This confusing image has been reported to make viewers' "brains hurt."

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