Here is a drawing made by Willam Ely Hill from 1915. It is titled "My Wife and My Mother-in-Law" and is said to be one of the oldest and most famous optical illusion in the world. When it was published in 1915 it came with a caption that read, "Both are in the picture - find them."
The optical illusion "My wife and my mother-in-law" is based on the perception of faces.
Researchers conducted a study on this image. The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports and showed that perception is influenced by your age.
So, take a look at the picture. What do you see?
There are two possible perceptions:
1. You see a young woman turning her head towards the horizon.
2. You see the profile of an old lady.
If you can't see both women at the same time, that's okay; you can only see one of the two women at a time.
If you can't tell the two women apart, here's a clue: the young woman's chest is also the old lady's chin, and the old lady's nose represents the young woman's chin.
What's interesting about this optical illusion is that each person tends to see one of the two women first. And according to an Australian study by two psychology teachers, it highly depends on your age.
In fact, the two Australian scientists revealed that young people tend to see the young woman first while the older people distinguish the older woman.
As part of this research, 393 participants (242 men and 141 women) aged 18 to 68 look at the image for half a second and then were asked about the sex and age of the person they saw.
Scientists are categorical; they found that the young see the young and beautiful woman while the older people see the sad old lady.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether "age-related biases affect the initial interpretation of an image on a subconscious level. Although the perception of faces depends on neural processes, it is also conditioned by social processes. "
What did you see at thee first very quick glance?
The big question: do you consider yourself to be young, or old?
According to the researchers, participants between the ages of 18 and 30 tended to see the young woman first, while those over 30 saw the old lady first. The study concluded that "a person's age affects their subconscious perception of the face."
Here, we did the test and yet, people over forty saw only the young woman ... Maybe it's a question of "mental" age? Who knows?!
But whatever the answer might be, we can admire the talent of the artist, who knew so well how to integrate two women in his life! I wonder if he was haunted by his mother-in-law? ;-)