The Fat Face Thin Illusion


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!

  • Phillip

    Looks like a fatty either way.

    • Keerah

      Maybe your brain’s broken o-o

    • Santiago

      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

      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

      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.

  • Louie

    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

      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

      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.

  • Sarah-Jane

    Wow it really does look thinner :) !

  • chris

    his face looks fat even though he is upside down

  • tyler adams

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

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

  • Care Bear

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

  • Z2d4th

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

  • a person

    that’s pretty cool….

  • woooooooooooooot!!!!! first!!!!

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

  • joy

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

  • Vole

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

  • Davor

    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.

  • Ariel

    that is WICKED

  • Adam

    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

  • ZL123

    Cool! Yes, one of the best illusions ever.

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

  • Matt

    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

  • Sally

    He still has a double chin either way.

  • nil

    Both of them are fake cant see the illusion

  • TM

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

  • Cool! The left one looks thinner indeed.

  • A Snail

    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 :)

  • Aaron

    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.

  • Rems

    Looks the same to me too !

  • Suri


  • Oi! Who are you calling fat!

  • William Lim ‘nkm’ Miaw

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

  • Fuzz

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

  • jam

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

  • 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?

  • JaceyNZ

    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.

  • Newbie :P

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

  • AC

    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!

  • Orack Bobama

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

    • Anon.hole

      like +

  • Nina

    he’s fat

  • Matthew

    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.)

  • Skyler

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

  • Janelle McDermott

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

  • Rachel

    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.

    • jadie

      hes from gavin and stacey too :)

  • Sheetal

    pseudo satisfaction to all fatso!! :-p

  • ap

    thats cool!

  • glp

    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.

  • 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

  • ferret


  • fr

    i thought the upside down one was leonardo dicaprio.

  • your mom

    haha i fliped my laptop upside down to cheack it

  • jadie

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

    • Dana

      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.

  • Anon.hole

    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.

  • Trout

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

  • Just Me

    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

      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.

  • Col

    Actually I thought they looked exactly the same.

  • Bill Abbot

    They look exactly the same!

  • thete


    • Adrian

      EXACTLY what I thought (and what brought me to this site in the first place)!

  • Harry

    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

      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.

  • zak

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

  • wut

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

  • cbrosh

    It’s Time Lord magic.

  • blinkett

    No illusion.. not even slightly.

  • Rory

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

  • ted

    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.

  • Sara

    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.

  • Tim

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

  • Felix

    For me, they look exactly the same.

  • Raquel

    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

  • Kathy

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

  • Katelin

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

  • Jenny

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

  • yowsa

    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.

  • bobob

    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.

  • Kane Outlaw

    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

  • Pook

    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.

  • Gradivus

    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.

  • Rob

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

  • [email protected]

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

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