“This is thought to happen because our brains are so finely tuned to recognize faces in an upright position,” explained Dr. Julie Smith.
London-based clinical psychologist Dr. Julie Smith recently shared a series of disturbing photos that demonstrate something called the Thatcher Effect. His video went mega-viral with over 33 million views:
BuzzFeed spoke with Dr Smith, who explained what the Thatcher effect is – also known as the Thatcher illusion. “This is a phenomenon in which changes in facial features that are very evident in a straight face are much more difficult to identify when the face is upside down. “
Dr Smith said the photographs are inverted so that the eyes and mouth are flipped vertically. “These changes seem obvious when we look at photography the wrong way. But, when presented upside down, we don’t notice that something is wrong, ”she added.
“The Thatcher effect was first demonstrated by psychology professor Peter Thompson in 1980. In the original study he used images of then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, which is why he called it the Thatcher effect, ”she said.
“It is believed to happen because our brains are so finely tuned to recognize faces in an upright position. This allows us to very easily identify many faces that are very similar as unique individuals. It has been hypothesized that the cognitive processes involved in facial recognition rely as much on the structural relationship between traits as on the traits themselves. For example, the configuration between the eyes, nose and mouth, ”she explains.
Dr Smith said the Thatcher effect is a fun illusion to share with your friends. “As a psychologist, I am fascinated by psychology and loved to share this fascination in a fun way with people all over the world. And it’s obvious that people are interested in what she shares! His recent illusion of a spinning figure has over 7 million views:
To see more of Dr. Smith’s psychological content, you can follow her on TikTok or Instagram.
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