Rob Jenkins has just sent me this lovely optical illusion. What is the first thing you see when you look at this?

illusion

I am all curious to discover if men and women see the picture differently, so please say whether you are male or female and what you saw when you first encountered the image….

269 comments

    1. I saw the boobs first. I’m a male. When I read some comments and saw that some of you saw a book, I really had to concentrate to see it. I swear!

  1. I am a (straight) female, and I first saw breasts. But shortly thereafter, I spotted the book, and now feel a bit daft!

  2. At first glance, first thing that came to mind was cleavage partially covered by a gown. But on closer inspection, it turns out to be the leaves of an open book. The flesh tone of the paper threw me off. I’m a guy, by the way.

  3. Female…. saw a fabulous bustier first, then cleavage, then book… so I guess my immediate thought was about shopping?! lol

  4. I’m male and saw the book. Sadly, I didn’t see anything else, try as I may, until after I’d read the comments to discover what I’d missed…

  5. I am female, saw the bust first then the book – but since my browser is always half-sized for screen constraints couldn’t see the spine of the book at first glance, which accounts for the difference I think.

  6. I saw the breasts first. But I was expecting to see something like that, as the text loaded before the image. I slowly worked out that it was a book after about 15 seconds.

  7. I saw a book. Well, actually I first thought it was two rolls of paper, then I thought it might be a book.

    Having read down the comments here, I still can’t see the breasts!

    female.

  8. (Male) I’m pretty sure I saw a book first but followed very quickly by boobs, did a second take and confirmed book. Interesting

  9. Male, 42 I saw a book first then I thought it was two rolls of paper, then boobs. Is something wrong with me?

  10. Female – saw the cleavage first, then the book – I wonder whether there’s a male/female thing to seeing one first or a sexuality thing?

  11. Female. I saw the book first, then soon after the breasts.
    But tbh, when you’re not blessed with such a beautiful cleavage it’s not something you’re used to seeing that much 😀

  12. I saw the book first, and had to look a couple minutes more since you had mentioned what do you see.. finally saw the cleavage and then realized it was cleavage and not a book since the spine doesn’t go all the way up 🙂

  13. My brother’s called Rob Jenkins. It wasn’t him, was it?

    I’m male and at first I saw a woman’s breast cleavage, then literally a second later saw it as an open book. I guess the first impression (i.e. before my brain attempts to come up with a civilised answer!) counts, right?

  14. male, immediately saw a book … even after reading the comments, i have to try really hard to see breasts (basically with my eyes half closed focusing to a more distance point …)

  15. Male

    When the picture first came up for a split second I saw cleverage but then as it came into focus it was obviously a book.

    Now I have been coming on here for a while I wonder if your comment beforehand influences what I am expecting to see?

    As soon as you said what do you see when you see this I am expecting to see an illusion so I look for the unusual first without just looking at the picture objectively. Maybe I am over thinking it?

  16. I don’t really understand this story but I do know about coincidences.

    The problem with something utterly extraordinary happening to someone that ‘seems like telepathy’ or fate or something is that we only ever tend to cherry pick the evidence.

    For example if I am thinking of someone and they then call me on the phone I might think that this was a premonition, however I would be cherry picking this evidence as significant and discounting all the times that I have thought of someone and they haven’t called.

    There are billions of people on the planet, even if the chances of ‘something’ happening is extremely unlikely say a million to one, it is still happening to someone on this planet all the time, that is the probability of large numbers.

    When one of these seemingly impossible events happen to us we over exaggerate their significance and ignore all the days/conversations/events where something didn’t happen.

    If you think about it what would be more surprising would be if we NEVER encountered any strange coincidences or premonition.

    Hope that helps a little!

  17. cleavage and then after about ten seconds of looking for another interpretation, the book. I’m male.

  18. Female

    Cleavage then book, seems to me that most people saw boobs first. It might be because:

    a, we are hardwired for recognising boobs by evolution
    b, people don’t expect to see a picture of an empty book on your blog 😉
    c, we all have dirty minds and no amount of reading will change that

  19. Labelling it as an optical illusion distorts things: I gave it more attention than a typical illustration, specifically looking for a trick, or multiple interpretations.

    Perhaps a more realistic test (the next time you get an image like this) is to put it at the top of a blog entry that’s about something else … then at the bottom of that entry, several paragraphs later, ask people if they noticed the image and what they thought it was.

  20. Female, book first. Didn’t get anything else until reading the comments – I have no imagination today, too tired!

  21. Male. Saw an open book for the first time, but books seldom open like this, so folded sheets of paper. After looking for associations: it could be female buttocks, legs missing, actually cut off, and the section transformed into an open book, like a Dali-painting…

  22. Boobs then book.

    Male.

    I could attempt to scuttle out from under by pleading smudges on my glasses, or glare from the sunshine through the window, but I won’t.

    I could also note that any time someone says “What do you see when you look at this?” I’m braced for some kind of double entendre, and was not at all disappointed this time around.

  23. Male.

    Saw the cleavage and nothing else till I viewed the comments. Still don’t see a book. Folded pages yes, but not a book.

  24. Male – saw a book first, and only after I started looking closely at the top of the picture and the continuous (ie not cleft) look of the top portion did the cleavage idea hit.

  25. I’m a fella. I saw an open book, first and second. It wasn’t until I reread the post that I said, “What else am I supposed to be… oh. Right.”

    And yes, I’m straight, and mostly healthy. Just prudish in spite of myself, I guess.

  26. Male, and saw a pair of breasts first, then the book. I don’t know if it’s better or worse that I realised it was a book only because I was trying to work out how the patterning on the ‘dress’ worked?

  27. Female. Cleavage at first but almost instantly followed by a book. However, my mind continued on to builders bum (albeit a very dainty one!!)

  28. Male. Book. Then again, I’m a bookish type.
    Didn’t give it a second thought until you called attention to it being an optical illusion. Then I got the cleavage.

  29. Male – breasts at first glance, then sheets of paper folded to look like breasts once I noticed the details.

  30. I first saw breasts, then saw that the details didn’t fit (because of the structure of the ‘pages’) and couldn’t make anything of the picture. Saw the book after reading the other comments, but then saw that the details didn’t fit for a book either (because of the way the cleft is drawn).

    Female.

  31. Almost as quickly as my eyes scanned down over the image I saw breasts first then an open book. As the colour of the paper is like flesh and as it changes to pink towards the bottom, it’s clearly deliberately meant to lead you like that!

    I’m female

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  33. I saw two arched wooden (possibly mahogany) doorways roughly at right angles to each other, with a bit of curved plaster wall/ceiling in between. At around about the same time I thought: ah, they’re supposed to look a bit like breasts, but they’re obviously not. And then I saw the folded paper. I’m female.

  34. The image was immediately arousing… clean pages that we have the opportunity to fill with our thoughts and impressions. No idea what else anyone could possibly see. Like Freud said, sometimes a book is just a book.

    And I have to say that as an experiment in gender differences, this is not so controlled, given that we have come to expect this sort of smut. 😉

  35. Yeah, I saw cleavage… then the book. I’m a male, guess it’s expected. sometime i look down at my own knuckles and see boobies 😉

  36. Definitely saw cleavage out of my peripheral vision, but it quickly clarified to a book. I can still easily see both, though, even when paying direct attention. It’s truly amazing composition. Better than the well-known lamp/crotch illusion which pretty much STAYS resolved once out of your peripheral vision.

  37. Cleavage for about a quarter of second, then a book. I am unable to see the tits again, despite the fact that the book is not very realistic (especially the fold). Scrolling or defocusing doesn’t help. I am an adult male, I like tits, and I read a lot.

    It is interesting to compare this to https://richardwiseman.wordpress.com/2009/04/21/what-do-you-see-when-you-look-at-this/, where I initially saw a lamp, and was unable to see anything else for about 20 s, until I (non-deliberately) scrolled the page, causing the view to immediately jump to a woman with her legs open. Now I see the lamp by default, but can easily switch to the woman at will. Defocusing doesn’t seem to have much an effect. When scrolling, I see the woman by default, but can switch to the lamp with some effort.

  38. Female – but saw boobs first! Had just been complaining about a bra tho’ so may have been my state of mind. Saw book straight after.

  39. Female.

    Saw it as book first, then saw it as a corset with cleavage and had a closer look.

    Though I have a headache, so that may have affected things slightly.

  40. Female. I saw the book, and could only see the breasts when I read what I was supposed to see, then went back.

  41. Female, Lesbian.

    I saw breasts then stocking tops and only saw the book when it was pointed out on this thread.

  42. A bum. It was the next image on my feed reader, after a few consecutive nudes. I didn’t realize it wasn’t by the same blogger till I read the title.

  43. Straight Male – Saw the pages and the book first…but then changed my perspective to see a funky bra and cleavage…

  44. I’m male, and I first saw female breasts. Quickly followed by something else.

    Though most people are seeing breasts and or a book, I didn’t see a book until I started reading the comments. Went back to the photo, puzzled, and had an “oh, yeah!” moment when I saw the pages of a book.

    What I quickly saw after first seeing breasts was two chairs in a corner.

  45. I first for a fraction of a second saw breasts but was disheartened to learn it was a book.

    And they say books can’t be fun.

  46. Male, 32. Cleavage. I couldn’t even imagine what else there was to see until I started reading the comments. Now I can see the book – if I try really, really hard.

  47. I’m female and saw the book first. My partner was looking over my shoulder and he saw the cleavage. He is currently refusing to see the book…

  48. I’m a woman and I still can’t see the breasts. It really looks like a book to me. Perhaps I’m just book-obsessed?

  49. I would have said it was a book.. but since the Internet and media is mostly about women, nakedness and so on.. I would have to say it is cleavage. I mean what else can it be? If you want to peak interest in any thing.. show some female body parts.

    What a yawn!!

  50. Definitely saw the cleavage first. Then I saw…

    Two wooden framed chairs sitting in the corner!

    Didn’t see the book until reading what others posted.

  51. I am a 57 year old Male. I saw an ass with black hose pulled up to the top. Don’t see any breasts…gues I am not a breast man…all ass and legs for me.

  52. Saw a cleavage first and thought it was a dress made from nice burgundy coloured velvet then realised it was a book

    female

  53. Oh ohhhh – male – all I can see is cleavage . . . been looking hard and long . . . still only see cleavage . . . I wanna see the book!

  54. I saw pages of a book at first, then when the caption said “men and women” I immediately saw a pair of tatas

  55. I saw pages of a book at first, then when the caption said “men and women” I immediately saw a pair of tatas. I’m a dude

  56. Male, Book but I knew the page was looking for something and it honestly looks like a rear end or boobies as well but really looks like a book.

  57. Straight male, 29 years old. Firstly, I saw a book. Then, after a moment, it appeared to resemble a woman’s cleavage in a dress or corset type attire.

  58. Saw breasts/gown first, then book. All you guys that saw the book first ARE normal, just need more time with girls that see boobs first :p

  59. I saw the image at Think Humanism, which then linked to here for us to feedback. Unfortunately the image was part-way down the page, so it appeared by scrolling. This meant that the top of the image emerged before the bottom, obviously making the image appear to be of a woman’s cleavage. As the lower portion of the image scrolled into view the book became apparent.

    I wonder how much the identification of the different aspects of the image is determined by how the image is inspected by the viewer? Do men scan from top to bottom of an image and women scan from bottom to top? Do most people view the centre of the image and then pick up the details nearer the extremities? Perhaps an experiment using video cameras that track eye movements might shed some light on this? Perhaps such experiments have already done so?

    Fascinating stuff…

  60. Book first followed by cleavage, but almost instantaneously, think the question leads the answer. (a builders arse reared its horrific possibility very briefly too). Male btw

  61. Male, just saw books. My brain rejects the boob hypothesis (I can see it if I work at it, but my brain clearly thinks it’s a book)

  62. since i’m a woman of course i saw the cleavage first, (for a fraction of a second) considering i have them. and since i am an educated woman, i saw the book second.

  63. cleavage and an elegant evening gown…then i saw the book. but only because i knew it was a trick and i was looking for what else was in the picture…i thought it was a really great dress. i’m an artist and the human figure features a lot in my work which includes costume. i was a intrigued about what the rest of the dress looked like…
    female

  64. I’m a female. Sad to say I saw boobs first. Then nanoseconds later the book. So disappointed in myself. Anyone know a good therapist?

  65. Female. I saw a woman with those tasteless “typical prom party” dresses. Then thought about jewelery ad (without jewelery. I didn´t understan) Finally I saw the book and now I think it is a fun effect.

  66. Male. Cleavage.

    But it didn’t look quite right. Probably because it was too flat (you wanted honesty!) Then a book became readily apparent.

  67. OK, honestly — my first thoughts were “cleavage. a woman’s breasts.” This was before I had scrolled down entirely. Then I thought “open book blank pages.” I am a woman…. I have not looked at the other comments but am curious to do so now!

  68. I’m a female,i saw the book first,& i had to concetrate to see the boobs!
    what does it mean if one sees book or boobs first??

  69. I’m male. Out of the corner of my eye, before I looked directly at it, the image looked like breasts. But the moment I actually focused on it, it was obviously a book.

  70. For a split second i saw a womans chest, and then the book.
    The wife however only saw a womans chest until she was told it was a book.

  71. Saw a book first, then as I read the text below the image, the boobs popped out at me. Uh, that is to say, the image transformed to a pair of breasts. I read back from the top, and, although the breast image was a bit stickier, I still saw a book; then breasts. I think for all the guys, it has more to do with how your eyes approach the picture than it does with whether you’ve been recently buried in either books or breasts.

  72. Boobs for a sec, then book. I focused on the centre of the image first, but when I started looking at the details I saw the book. My eyesight is a quite bad, so it always takes a while before i can focus on something.

  73. Male
    The picture was loading gradually, so I saw breasts first, then after the bottom was visible – a book.

    Ok… so the loading time had nothing to do it! I would still see boobs if I saw the entire picture at once. ;P

  74. Only saw cleavage. Didn’t see the book until reading the comments, although I admit I didn’t stare at it very long after seeing the cleavage since I am a girl myself 🙂

  75. I’m a female, lesbian. At the first second I saw the boobs, but very quickly (one or two seconds later) I saw the book.

  76. Boobs first. But I’m not sure if I had the full picture yet (scrolled down enough). It felt like only the slightest moment though until I saw the book.

    Female, recently gay.

    I initally assumed that the men would all instantly see boobs. But that was based on sex. If it’s primarily women seeing it first is it because we can see ourselves rather than something to find stimulating?

  77. Male, and I saw the open book first. I then had a look at the comments and saw people mention ‘boobs’, so I looked back. I can sort of see a cleavage area, but I mainly still see the open book! I think I’ve been single for too long!!!!

  78. The book first, and the boobs only after a “search” for a second possible interpretation.
    Nice blog!

  79. Male (but female in previous life).
    Saw book first, than for a moment, I thought “Coulda be breasts” – but then: “No, it looks to unnatural for breasts – it is a book”.
    (Altough – actually it just is a painting).

  80. I saw a hundred! joke!
    Book
    Breast
    Guy’s head and black hair on a woman’s breast
    mickey mouse
    something like sunset

  81. I immediately saw a cleavage. Tried to dismiss it as I like to be clever and see both. Laughed at myself and thought “why not see a cleavage? I’d love a cleavage like that!” then the open book jumped out at me. I’d be interested to know the results of this survey.

    1. Ooops sorry, too busy having cleavage envy to tell you I’m female. That wasn’t difficult to work out tho I guess!

  82. book, then boobs. male.

    The men who were “ashamed” (or similar) to have not seen the boobs first, I think, point to a large part of “male sexuality” in our culture (where “our” ~ western): we are “supposed” to be hyper-sexual, all the time, even when we aren’t.

    (For the record, however, the lamp/thong illusion got me the first time I saw it.

  83. I saw a book first. After looking at it for awhile, I managed to see breasts. It’s easier for me to see the book. I look at it, and automatically think and see a book.

  84. I saw the book first, the separated pages was too noticeable for me, then I noticed that it could be seen as boobs…. However, I saw this image before, except that it was suppose to be a folding sheet of paper and all I saw was boobs, so I googled it to see what the other image was suppose to be (it was an advertisement online and it was in spanish) and found out that it was a folded sheet of paper (very similar to this image) and then as I looked at the gallery of google images I saw this one and clicked on the link… so yeah.

    – male

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