What you see in this optical illusion says a lot about your age

optical illusion wife mother-in-law

We all love an illusion that can divide the internet. Visual or auditory, as long as it causes some arguments, we’re all for it.

The dress is white and gold obviously. Well it looks black and blue to me. What does yanny mean? Err he’s saying Laurel. Remember those?

So, it’s no surprise that an optical illusion we thought we’d figured out years ago has re-emerged.

And apparently it can even reveal how old you are.

‘My Wife and My Mother-in-Law’ is one of the world’s most famous optical illusions and many people have long been baffled by it.

Drawn by British cartoonist William Ely Hill, it appeared in American magazine Puck back in November 1915.

But now psychologists are saying that what you see in the optical illusion can differ depending on how old you are.

Looking at the image your eyes will either be drawn to the silhouette of a young woman looking away, or you will see an old woman staring straight ahead of her.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Can see one but not the other? Well if you see the wife you will see that her chin doubles as the mother-in-law’s nose, and the mother-in-law’s mouth and chin is the younger woman’s choker and neck.

Psychologists at Flinders University in Australia suggest that the figure you see can reveal how old you are.

According to the research, younger people will notice the young wife first, while older people will outline the older mother-in-law.

The scientists looked at 393 participants, 242 males and 141 females, from the age of 18 up to the age of 68, with a median age of 32.

To establish the results, participants were shown the image for half a second and then asked to reveal the age and gender of the first figure they saw.

When the study leaders looked at results from the youngest 10 per cent and oldest 10 per cent of participants, they found that the younger set saw the younger woman first while the older set noticed the old woman.

Whichever you see first, we say if you manage to see both women at all, it’s a win.

Aleesha Badkar
Lifestyle Writer

Aleesha Badkar is a lifestyle writer who specialises in health, beauty - and the royals. After completing her MA in Magazine Journalism at the City, the University of London in 2017, she interned at Women’s Health, Stylist, and Harper’s Bazaar, creating features and news pieces on health, beauty, and fitness, wellbeing, and food. She loves to practice what she preaches in her everyday life with copious amounts of herbal tea, Pilates, and hyaluronic acid.