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Rotating McThatcher Illusion

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Published on May 18, 2014

Finalist of the Best Illusion of the Year Contest 2014
http://illusionoftheyear.com/

James W. Dias & Lawrence D. Rosenblum
University of California, Riverside, USA

This illusion demonstrates that our unconscious ability to lipread is influenced by processes considered idiosyncratic to face perception. It combines two well known effects. The McGurk effect shows that our perception of a heard syllable ('ba') is unconsciously influenced by a synchronized lipread syllable ('va') so we report "hearing" what we see ('va'). The Margaret Thatcher effect shows that the context of a (near) upright face enhances our sensitivity to facial distortions (inverted mouth). In the Rotating McThatcher Illusion, the face rotates around an inverted mouth. When the face is near upright, the influence of the lipread syllable is weakened.

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