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Flashed Face Distortion Effect - Brain Games - National Geographic

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Published on Jul 21, 2013

Our Flashed Face Distortion Effect was featured in the Brain Games program on the National Geographic Channel. Unfortunately, they disregarded the fact that the faces don't need to be presented in the periphery for the effect to work (as we described in our paper), but we are happy to see the effect being enjoyed by a wide audience.

Transcript: "When you look directly at these photos, they appear completely normal. But when we asked you to focus on the star, and your brain began to interpret the faces based on the signals sent by your peripheral vision, those faces started to look a little funky. Now look directly at the photos. Every one looks normal again. Right? So how is that possible? It turns out that even though humans are particularly good at recognising faces, our eyes don't give us particularly good resolution with our peripheral vision. So without being able to see the specific details of each face, your brain only notes the contrast between each face (arrows and shaded sections pointing to sections *within* each face), then magnifies those slight differences into freaky features. Making J.Lo look more like: Oh no!"

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