While a number of optical illusions have sent the internet into meltdown in recent times, one of the oldest is still baffling people more than 100 years after its release.
However, after decades of confusion, scientists have determined that what people see in the My Wife and My Mother-in-Law image could depend on their age.
According to the ABC, researchers at Flinders University in South Australia have discovered a person’s interpretation of the cartoon actually says a lot about their age.
For some, the image depicts a young woman with cheek bones and a fancy hat. For others, they see an old woman with black hair wearing a head scarf. Following a study of 400 adults aged 18 to 70, researchers discovered that it was older people who were more likely to see the old woman in the image, while younger people were more likely to see the young lass.
In the study, participants weren’t aware they were being studied based on their age and it has raised questioned about whether a person’s subconscious plays a role when it comes to age and ageism.
The My Wife and My Mother-in-Law image originated in 1888, but became famous when late cartoonist William Ely Hill published his illustrated version and a brain-teasing caption in Puck magazine in 1915.
“They are both in this picture – find them,” the caption read. The image has since appeared in countless textbooks, experiments and studies.
While it’s likely an image that many over-60s have come across at one point or another, it’s hardly the only optical illusion to cause divide. Another classic is the duck versus rabbit image that has been baffling the public for decades.
Here’s another example. Some people see two faces, while others see a vase.
More recently, a series of different illusions baffled internet users. One of the most iconic was the blue dress versus gold dress battle.
Uploaded online in 2015, the seemingly innocent photo caused debate when people who were looking at the same image were seeing different things. Many saw a white-and-gold dress, while others saw black-and-blue dress.
That illusion actually came down to how light entered the eye, explaining why different people saw different colours. It was a similar scenario last year when a photo of a shoe caused debate. Some people saw pink and white, while others saw green and grey.
According to the person who originally uploaded the photo, the real shoe was actually pink and white, although the lighting of the area a person is in would impact the colour they saw.