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By on December 20, 2010, with 88 Comments

Peter Thompson from the University of York (UK) discovered an amazing optical illusion that will shock you! By now we have all learned that faces are more difficult to recognize when they’re upside-down and that sometimes we misperceived the facial expressions of upside-down faces (as was shown in Margaret Thatcher Illusion).

What I have prepared for you today is a slightly different example called The Fat Face Thin illusion. Your assignment is to compare the upside-down face on the left of the lower figure with the upright face on the right. Have you noticed how the upside-down version looks much thinner?! Moreover it appears longer shaped than the upright version. Of course, there is no need to mention how both pictures are identical. This illusion illustrates the internal features of the face (eyes, nose, mouth) can distort our perception of face shape. To boost up the effect, cover the right photo with your palm, and concentrate on the left photo for a while!

The Fat Face Thin Illusion


88 Responses
  1. Phillip says:

    Looks like a fatty either way.

    • Keerah says:

      Maybe your brain’s broken o-o

    • Santiago says:

      Damn this is stupid. You can tell he’s fat either way.

      What kind of idiot gave that guy money to call this “research”? Bitches been trying to trick people since Myspace.

    • traci says:

      it figures that if someones face appears swollen or “fat” someone automatically say this person is a “fatty” even someone who weighes less than 100 pounds can look “fat” if you doctor the pic just right. i can’t believe there are people out there that are so shallow that look at someone’s size to see what kind of person they bare

    • Lardy says:

      This is for Traci: This guy is indeed fat. He’s an actor and recently he guest starred on the show “Doctor Who”. His name is James Corden if you want to look him up. He has plenty of pictures on his IMDB page that show his abdomen.

  2. Louie says:

    I’m not seeing the illusion here. Both photos look identical to me except that one is upside-down and the other one isn’t. Other than that, the face looks exactly the same in both photos. Neither one is thinner or fatter than the other.

    • anna may says:

      The reason the left face looks thinner, is that the double chin on the right defines him as fat. In the left version what you see as the line that defines the face is the end of the first chin. The double one you only see when you search for it.

    • Lou says:

      This just your eyes playing tricks on you. We consider his double chin as size to his face, now that it is on top we consider it as adding length to his face now making him look thinner.

  3. Sarah-Jane says:

    Wow it really does look thinner :) !

  4. chris says:

    his face looks fat even though he is upside down

  5. tyler adams says:

    they look the same if you ask me??? both fat

  6. James Smith says:

    That’s really cool. I may start posting all my facebook pics upside down.

  7. Care Bear says:

    They both need to leave the Christmas treats alone this year.

  8. Z2d4th says:

    You’re right and sometimes the upside down looks handsome.

  9. a person says:

    that’s pretty cool….

  10. woooooooooooooot!!!!! first!!!!

    Epic illusion, so cool. That boosting thing how you cover the fat one makes it way thinner.

  11. joy says:

    I can’t believe this, but, this guy looks just like my long-lost brother,Scott.

  12. Vole says:

    No matter which way I look at him he’s still not funny.

  13. Davor says:

    I don’t know how to explain it, but when you look at the upside down face, I tend to look at the inside ridge of the face so it looks skinnier, and when you look at the rightside up face, I tend to look at the outside of the face which you normally see as fatter.

    So for some reason, the brain, at least mine :) tends to see the inside contour or ridge of the face making it look skinnier than it is.

    Good illuision.

  14. Ariel says:

    that is WICKED

  15. Adam says:

    Amazing… I have the illusions on my Google homepage which just displays the upside down image. When I first saw just the 1 image I thought it was a thin face upside down. Now that I have seen both, When I see the google homepage I now just see a fat face upside down….

    I think the illusion works best if you don’t see them side by side. See the upside down face first, then look at the right way around, then you’ll see a big difference

  16. ZL123 says:

    Cool! Yes, one of the best illusions ever.

  17. To me, it appears to be two different men…….

  18. Matt says:

    Fail zajackengalpie, all comments have to be approved so there isn’t any way of knowing if you’re first or not. My first impression was that the upside down face looked a bit thinner, however, they both look like they need to skip dessert :P

  19. Sally says:

    He still has a double chin either way.

  20. nil says:

    Both of them are fake cant see the illusion

  21. TM says:

    This because all the fat has moved to the skull:)

  22. Jerome says:

    Cool! The left one looks thinner indeed.

  23. A Snail says:

    So to summerise, all people who are worried they have a fat face, need to do handstands and move around everywhere upside down. Even if the illusion doesn’t work, people will wonder what they are up to rather than they have a fat face – a win win situation :)

  24. Aaron says:

    I wonder if our inclination to ‘expect’ gravity to drag the forehead and hairline down in both instances lends to the illusion of longer or shorter facial area.

  25. Rems says:

    Looks the same to me too !

  26. Suri says:


  27. James Corden says:

    Oi! Who are you calling fat!

  28. William Lim 'nkm' Miaw says:

    he is’nt fat, and no photos fatter than other

  29. Fuzz says:

    James Cordon is adorable, no matter how you look at him.

  30. jam says:

    OMG!!! that’s james corden. he’s such a legend but most of you probably don’t know gavin and stacey!

  31. Daron says:

    Do you think it’s the position of the picture or the direction of the lighting? Wonder if you took the same pose with lights from below next to a picture with lights above if it’d have the same effect?

  32. JaceyNZ says:

    It seems to me to be more a result of the shadows? My brain wants to ignore the shadow on the face on the left, or make it part of the background, so the lighter part of the face gives him a pointy skull. On the right my brain says his face is causing the shadow, so it seems blockier.

  33. Newbie :P says:

    It’s the hair that make you think top is skinnier

  34. AC says:

    Actually,its because you don’t notice the neck fat at first, upside down (the shadow makes it unnoticeable).If you look closer,it’s obvious,
    rendering this illusion useless, It’s not that bad anyway. Cool!

  35. Orack Bobama says:

    in other news, men do not pay attention as much to womens fatness when they are upside down or lying on their back.

  36. Nina says:

    he’s fat

  37. Matthew says:

    They look like two different photos BECAUSE I am using a DSi and I can easily turn it upside down but when comparing the pictures, the EYES looked very different, the on on the left had more widely opened eyes than the right one. Which makes this optical illusion, to me ‘invalid’ (I will check this on a PC when I get a chance.)

  38. Skyler says:

    Looks like Jaba The Huts Brother either way.. His name is Jim The chubby

  39. Janelle McDermott says:

    So does this mean all I have to do is walk around upside down! Yeh!

  40. Rachel says:

    Maybe it’s because I recognized him immediately from an episode of Doctor Who, but he looks exactly the same to me upside down and right side up.

  41. Sheetal says:

    pseudo satisfaction to all fatso!! :-p

  42. ap says:

    thats cool!

  43. glp says:

    Im not seeing it. This man has a fat face no matter how you present it to me. The neck rolls really make his fatness pop out at you, even when upside down.

  44. plmethvin says:

    It seems the same both ways… :/
    The man is simply obese. Right side up, or upside down. If being upside down made you appear thinner, 60% of Americans would be cruising by on their hands. :D

  45. fr says:

    i thought the upside down one was leonardo dicaprio.

  46. your mom says:

    haha i fliped my laptop upside down to cheack it

  47. jadie says:

    lol its james corden!! :D …. but yeah i see the illusion :)

    • Dana says:

      I KNOW! British actor, was in an episode of Doctor Who, and he’s adorable. I am SO over a-holes making fun of fat people. There’s no diet that cures being an overentitled jerk. If your only “flaw” is you weigh more than me, I sure am not going to notice it.

  48. Anon.hole says:

    if this doesn’t fool your brain then you must not have much going on in your brain. if you disagree with me, you’re fooling yourself.

  49. Trout says:

    Corden is a fat unfunny ball-ache from any angle.

  50. Just Me says:

    This isn’t an illusion, it’s just our tendency to shift our vision from their eyes downward, not upward. With the upside down picture, we see their eyes, and move towards the hairlines. If you instead shift upward and see his fat chin, the illusion is broken.

    • Tom says:

      You mean like in those things, what do you call them, ‘optical illusions’? When you look at something and it looks different, like an optical illusion. Yeah, I think they’re called optical illusions.

  51. Col says:

    Actually I thought they looked exactly the same.

  52. Bill Abbot says:

    They look exactly the same!

  53. thete says:


  54. Harry says:

    I didn’t see it, they both look fat… Asked all my flatmates too and they all found it to be fat.

    Maybe try it with a less recognisable face? we know he’s fat so we look for that monstrous double chin.

    • lisa says:

      His face is still fat – that isn’t the issue. But it does look somewhat thinner on the left because of the oddball position we aren’t used to seeing.

  55. zak says:

    LOl who cares, look every body its James Corden! lol great actor

  56. wut says:

    does not look somewhat thinner at all, get your eyes checked

  57. cbrosh says:

    It’s Time Lord magic.

  58. blinkett says:

    No illusion.. not even slightly.

  59. Rory says:

    I hope you got James Corden’s permission for using his face for you illusion.

  60. ted says:

    stupid illusion: they look the same: fat ugly guy in both pictures. you brain must be very altered with so many years of drug abuse to see a thin face.

  61. Sara says:

    It’s not an illusion, nobody is able to look at James Corden’s stupid face without thinking he’s a twat, so it doesn’t work.

  62. Tim says:

    Flip the photo upside down rather than rotating it by 180 and then compare all three. The flip will look better than the rotate.

  63. Felix says:

    For me, they look exactly the same.

  64. Raquel says:

    I have been demonstrating this year after year with my employee id’s . . . I look MUCH better when they’re upside down, even better upside down and at a bit of an angle. Thanks for backing me up! LOL

  65. Kathy says:

    If you look at the chin on both photos; it kills the ‘illusion’

  66. Katelin says:

    i think hes still fat but a little skinnier upside down.

  67. Jenny says:

    He is the father of Stormageddon, Dark lord of all – I wouldn’t make fun of him if I were you. He’s perfect.

  68. yowsa says:

    He looks thinner, but it’s no illusion. We look at the lower half of the face, upside down his lower half is the top, which is slimmer. It’s slimmer and looks tight because all the fat in his face sags and pulls on the flesh. It’s like a reverse face lift.

  69. bobob says:

    it’s just because we discredit hair when he focus on a ‘fat face’ – but upside down a persons barnet is then taken into consideration and, as it is clearly bigger, is more noticeable where we aim to look.

    if you look at both pictures regarding to size of the top of his head (hair0 to the bottom, they look exactly the same.

  70. Kane Outlaw says:

    Thats a picture of James Corden. He appeared in the episopde called “closing time” in the new series 6 of Doctor Who most recently, but that was to reprise the role as he had played the character of Craig Owens before

  71. Pook says:

    Um … the guy on the left looks exactly the same as the guy on the right, except he’s upside down. I do not see a difference in weight, but I’m an artist, so I perceive things differently, I suppose.

  72. Gradivus says:

    Disillusion may be based on the fact that we are so used to light coming from above rather than below, that our minds automatically assume lack of material in shaded or darker areas at the top of a photo.

  73. Rob says:

    Lol no matter how i look at it, the guy is not one bit funny but yh he is one grotesque fat bastard.

  74. wendy@3456 says:

    ooh! it gets fat! (that means the guy is fa

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