This is a lovely illusion sent to me by Anders E.  Basically, by simply blocking out parts of a picture the women appear naked.  Apparently the technique was invented by a mormon who wasn’t allowed to look at nudity.

Does it work for you?  Feel free to create your own and I will post the best ones here!


  1. I saw the original article, although I hadn’t seen these two specific pieces.

    And yes, it does work quite well for me, honestly. I’m surprised how effective it is at just convincing me something’s in the way and not giving away that they’re fully clothed. It’s a notably better effect than them wearing the bikinis. Kind of crazy how that works.

    That said, my confusion lies here: I’m pretty confident my brain is filling in the gaps because it knows all too well what belongs in those gaps. Assuming the fine, upstanding Mormon gentleman who uncovered this technique hasn’t already cheated on the rules and looked at pornography, I can’t see what his mind would fill in there. I don’t think there would BE that automatic, conditioned response to assume the appearance of the missing areas and enjoy it. That suggests there’s either more to our hard-wiring of sexual imagery, or this young man’s already seen plenty of porn he’s not willing to cop to.

  2. That’s awesome. And surprisingly convincing. I can’t imagine a Mormon not being allowed to look at nudity, given their preoccupation with procreation.

    1. You do not have to be naked to procreate, and Mormons do not have any more of a “preoccupation with procreation” than anyone else.

  3. @TurboFool: Naah, your whole idea of “visual field” is an in brain construct. You think you see a 100% sharp picture, but there’s nothing such given the poorly constructed eyes we have. 🙂

    Your brain centre pretty much does the equivalent of Adobe’s “content aware fill” all the time, any time there’s a “space” with something on either side. It’s doing that 100% of the time with the two retinal blind spots, and doing auto-sharpening of everything outside the very small focus sharp vision spot we have.

  4. I can see the “illusion” but how do I/we know that the brain generated parts are correct. If you could forward the contact details of the brunette in the second picture I will endeavour to find out…………all in the name of scientific research of course

  5. I can see the “illusion” but how do I/we know that the brain generated parts are correct. If you could forward the contact details of the brunette in the second picture I will endeavour to find out…………all in the name of scientific research of course

  6. OK…..?…..I see the illusion part…..ah….don’t know where the “…a mormon who wasn’t allowed to look at nudity.” part came from. Doesn’t make any sense really…..think about it. The modesty issue is what I think you are referring to and that wouldn’t allow for wearing of the two piece swim suites for the females and “see” the bare skin isn’t the issue so much as it is the place that the mind goes and you don’t need to look to think ….. so the story of how this illusion came about doesn’t make sense for that reason. Now the “…can’t imagine a Mormon not being allowed to look at nudity, given their preoccupation with procreation.”
    Wow that is a strange comment. I would venture to say that the Catholics would have the LDS or “Mormon” beat by a mile. Again don’t know of an issue about bare skin and not allowed to see….modesty yes and marriage first but there isn’t anything shameful about the human body…. respect it yes, treat it right for best health yes, but sinful by nature no…. not at all. But every LDS is also a human just the same as everyone else some good, some not so good and some got problems same as any religion and same as anyone that has no beliefs….. all are human first before they made choices….

    1. To be sure, it didn’t specifically state that the Mormon wasn’t able to look at naked women because of accepted Mormon dogma. Maybe the Mormon was from a highly prudish family.

  7. It’s really amazing but it’s because our brain ‘completes’ the images, it’s easier or more logical for it to see naked woman than women in bikini.

  8. Anyone else get the impression that this post was because Richard needed to come up with a plausible explanation for his wife when she discovered a load of bikini pictures on his laptop ? “Er…it’s part of….a scientific visual illusion”

    1. I see what you mean…. I don’t know why their hands are so white compared to the rest of them….. Oh you must be asking about that other effect…lol…I would say being drunk but not been drinking….the person who set up the illusion was drinking…lol…. maybe.

  9. Professor Wiseman, in the future I’d kindly ask you to refer to us as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or members of the LDS Church or rather than “Mormons” — a scholar should always be accurate, no matter what his discipline. 🙂 Peace and love.

  10. “Feel free to create your own and I will post the best ones here!”
    Oh yes, let’s encourage sexism and voyeurism. Congratulations, Professor.
    I’d like to know what you think when someone sends you one of your daughter/sister/wife.

  11. Oh purlease. The people who are excited about this post really need to get a life. I don’t know who you are, Richard Wiseman but I think your first name probably sums you up much better than your last name.

  12. In the interests of scientific accuracy and non-bias, shouldn’t there be some pictures of ‘naked’ men here, too?
    Just to be fair to both sexes, of course.

  13. Erm, do you even have these womens’ permission to put these pictures up? The originals just look like someone’s holiday snaps. Maybe you should put some of yours up instead.

  14. Yes the illusion works fairly well until you really look at the images.
    I can tell that the girl on the right has at least a bra on in the top photo.
    The two girls to the right have at least a bra on in the bottom photo.
    I know this from the way the breasts are pushed up and together so my intellect can see them at least partially dressed but the visual brain still sees them nude.
    For the girls on the left in both photos the illusion is very strong.

    The law allows the use of pictures if they are publicly available or there is no monetary gain.

  15. Ooh, a nice double-whammy. You got both the Mormon defenders and the anti-porn crusaders out after this one. Tell you what, you two camps can duke it out, and then the rest of us will take on the winner.

  16. I really don’t think it’s OK to make pictures of people who look like they’re naked without their permission. It may be legal, L. Long, but it is still an invasion of these women’s privacy.

  17. Come on guys, there’s no nudity, you could easily find much more offensive pictures on big news sites and what not.
    Should science stop from going into fields, that may offend some people?

    Past that, this is a very funny and intriguing ability of the mind.

    I wonder if it works as well for other senses or even on more abstract levels (although sight is pretty unique in the amount of information we can get from the blink of an eye).

    Like how religious people continously seem to find god everywhere in a world of which we only have a limited understanding (I’m not trying to pick a fight about religion, I just thought it was an interesting thought).

  18. This is another, similar Illusion:

    Unzip it. Then klick trough the slideshow. Translation:
    1. “Visual Test”
    2. Watch this Picture and tell me what you see in the Background
    3. A bare butt ?
    4. Yes ? Really ? You also see all through pink erotic-glasses ? I have to disappoint you. Its not a butty its only the left shoulder of the right Girl, which is shooting the Picture….
    -> Go and see the eye specialist !!!

  19. It’s a clever illusion, and taps into the idea that using one’s imagination can actually be more effective than “seeing everything.” Or maybe that’s just me… I find clothes sexy!

    Anyway, I tried creating a couple myself. Attempt one:

    Attempt two:

  20. Well of course it works. You only see naked parts and it’s just natural to expect other naked parts. Anyway I think the mormonic story is a hoax.

  21. So if a woman is wearing a bikini, and then you cover the bikini with a splash of color, you no longer know the bikini is there and can pretend the girl is naked? Wow. It’s not merely an illusion, it’s pure magic. Like, Beavis and Butthead magic.

    And yes, they totally want you. All five. You can count to five, right?

    1. They do want me? All of them? At first blush only the blonde in the blue-and-green stripes seemed to be flirting with me; but no, no, on second glance, and with your encouraging words—with, as it were, your blessing, Nikki—I do begin to see the gleam of a tomboyish ardor in the eye of the bottommost blonde as well; and the brunette’s blithe smile does begin to take on a certain lasciviousness. In fact, from even the first picture’s, it must be admitted, frumpier subjects, who once betrayed not a sign of totally wanting anyone at all to this observer’s ingenuous eye, does now begin to roll the heat and humidity of sex. … Can it be? Polygamy at last? All five of these dolls for one lucky scholar? Oh, it’ll take some adjusting, to be sure: a bigger bed, a more brutal libido—but minor details, Nikki! Minor details in the face of my bliss! How can I ever thank you?

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  23. Excellent. Academy-sponsored porn. I wonder why there are fewer women than men professors in your discipline, Prof. Wiseman. Perhaps they worry that their male colleagues will be imagining them with no clothes on. Still, at least this site is a good resource for students of the science of sexism.

    1. It’s not porn, it’s an interesting illusion. It makes you wonder why the brain fills in naked flesh, rather than the bikini you know is there.

      And what’s wrong with imagining people with no clothes on? As long as you’re not actually attempting to remove their physical clothes, there’s no harm done, if you ask me.

      If people want to imagine me naked, by all means they can, as long as they don’t bother me with their fantasies. I’ll do the same if I’m attracted to them (or even when I’m bored).

      And by the way, yes, I am female, in case you were wondering.

  24. It works but…
    the 2 girls on the right on 2nd pair of pics have their breasts shaped by a bra, so wether you see em or not, bras are here.

  25. The only one that really “works” is of the woman on the left in the lower image. Though, one could probably imagine the women nude without the artifice of the overlay design, as the overlay is a lot more complicated than the actual photos.

  26. OK, so what’s wrong with a little skin? Are we living in the 1800’s? Go to any public beach in America, and this is what you’ll see.

  27. I agree with Katie- it is quite amazing how our brains work to fill in the gaps.
    I’m guessing this is the same mechanism that allows us to read text written like this. I am hnopig plopee wlil be albe to raed tihs.
    Maybe maybe not!

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