Can you spot the well-known face in this black-and-white grid?
It’s difficult to see, but a celeb’s portrait is hidden among the dots that make up the brain-frazzling optical illusion.
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There are a few tricks to help you see the obscured star – from shaking the device it’s displayed on to 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 famous face should become.
If you’re still stumped, here’s a clue: They’re a late musician considered by many to be one of the greatest pop stars of all time.
The answer, of course, is Michael Jackson. Try looking back at the image now you know the solution: He 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.
Speaking to The Sun, Dr Gustav Kuhn, a psychologist and human perception expert at Goldsmiths University in London, said the visual puzzle is the result of how our brains process information.
He compared it to a similar monochrome-grid illusion that obscures an image of a panda.
“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.
“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.
This story originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission.