Adele illusion: It’s called the Thatcher Effect

Adele ... what's wrong with this face!
Adele ... what's wrong with this face!
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BY now you’ve probably seen this freaky altered image of Adele’s face, so what exactly is going on?

It’s called the Thatcher Effect, named after former PM Margaret Thatcher, whose photo was used to first demonstrate the illusion in 1980, and was discovered by psychology professor Peter Thompson.

Argh!

Argh!

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Basically, what’s happening is that the brain has trouble distinguishing changes in an upside-down face. But flip the image and the changes are all-too-obvious.

Scientists think this could be because the parts of the brain linked to face recognition are tuned especially to upright faces. There’s evidence that rhesus monkeys and chimpanzees exhibit the effect, meaning these facial recognition mechanisms may have evolved 30 million years ago.

Although it’s been around a while, people are clearly still fascinated by the illusion.

The Thatcher Effect ... the image that started it all.

The Thatcher Effect ... the image that started it all.

Adele ... the unaltered image.

Adele ... the unaltered image.

The Adele Effect image is believe to have first cropped up on The Shade Room’s Instagram account on Friday, and has since amassed more than 28,000 like and a flurry of activity on social media.

SEE ALSO: Impossible? Illusionists don’t know the meaning of the word