Want to see Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez and Tom Cruise turn grotesquely ugly?
An Australian illusion that causes your eyes to distort the faces of some of the most beautiful celebrities has won second place in an international illusion contest.
See how it works by clicking on the video above.
Researchers at the University of Queensland discovered, by accident, that a simple alignment technique causes our brains to distort images.
Graduate students Sean Murphy, Matthew Thompson and Jason Tangen posted an example of their discovery on YouTube, highlighting the effect by using well-known faces, which became a hit with a scientific community they didn't even know existed.
"We called it the Flashed Face Distortion Effect. But we don't yet know what causes it."
"Like many interesting scientific discoveries, this one was an accident. Sean Murphy … was working alone in the lab on a set of faces for one of his experiments. He aligned a set of faces at the eyes and started to skim through them. After a few seconds, he noticed that some of the faces began to appear highly deformed and grotesque," Thompson said.
"We're thrilled that our illusion has been so well received. It's great to see that see many people, both scientists and the public, find it as fascinating as we do. For an accidental discovery to be considered one of the best illusions of the year is certainly gratifying," Murphy told ninemsn.
The trio were awarded second place in Florida's Best Illusion of the Year 2012 competition, beaten only by a study from the UK which tricks a person into thinking their hand has disappeared.
Their video was presented at the Vision Sciences Society's annual awards in Florida, which Thompson attended
"The effect might have something to do with relative encoding. That is, forcing people to encode each face in light of the others. By eye-aligning the faces, it becomes much easier to compare their shape and the relative location of their features, so the differences between them become more evident," he said.
It works by staring directly at the space between two images, causing them to gradually become more warped in your peripheral vision.
Gradually, Angelina's eyes become bulbous, George Clooney's jaw widens, finely manicures eyebrows become enormous and Tom Cruise begins to look very simple.
The effect was found to increase by pairing faces with very distinct differences.
"When cycling through the faces on a computer screen, each face seems to become a caricature of itself and some faces appear highly deformed, even grotesque. The degree of distortion is greatest for faces that deviate from the others in the set on a particular dimension, for example if a person has a large forehead, it looks particularly large," the study abstract detailed.
The original non-celebrity version has been viewed on YouTube 5.9 million times and the celebrity version has hit 800,000.
The findings, "Flashed face distortion effect: Grotesque faces from relative spaces", can be read in the journal Perception and on Matthew Thompson's website