Everyone Spots Albert Einstein With Ease, But Can You Also Spot The Famous Lady In The Image?

Updated August 8, 2017

Who doesn’t love a good optical illusion?

The video shows a picture, with some people identifying Marilyn Monroe and others seeing Einstein.

Dr. Aude Olivia, from MIT, developed the image to see how good a person’s eyesight is. So, which person do you see? Marilyn or Einstein?

Turns out, if you see Marilyn, you might need glasses or contact lenses!

If you’re seeing Einstein and then squint, you may then see Marilyn Monroe, but why? And how does this even test your eyesight?

Here’s how it works – the sharper image is of Einstein, while Marilyn is blurry, combined to create a hybrid image. Independent UK explains, “It combines a low spatial frequency – or blurry – image with a high special frequency – or clear – image.”

When the video shows the photo at a distance, you’re more likely to see Marilyn, but when it comes closer and it’s enlarged, most people with healthy eyesight will see Einstein, with the blurry part of Marilyn not registering.

The video explains: “The further away you can stand and still see Einstein, the better your eyes likely are.”

Further, the video notes: “Depending on how well you’re able to focus, or pick up contrast, your eye will only pick out certain details. Up close, we’re generally able to pick up fine details like Einstein’s mustache and wrinkles. But as the distance increases, or if your vision is poor and creates a more blurred image in the first place, your ability to pick up details fades away.”


MIT have created hybrid optical illusions over the years to further study how people distinguish spatial resolution. According to Independent UK, Dr. Oliva explains that the way people see the images “reveals that our brains discriminate between picking out fine detail in some situations, and broader detail in others.”

Those commenting on the YouTube video had plenty to say, with a range of jokey responses, such as: “Without my glasses, everyone looks like Marilyn Monroe,” “I started walking back and tripped over a chair,” and “I walked away, was wearing headphones then tripped over my dog.” Oops.

Others noted what they saw, such as: “I have glasses, saw Albert Einstein, took off my glasses and saw Marilyn Monroe” and “her teeth become the moustache.”

Another commenter never saw just Marilyn, however, writing: “No matter how hard I squint, I still see Einstein and it’s weird because I eventually see both simultaneously #mentally scared.”

This person agreed, saying, “I see both things at the same time.”

This commenter made an interesting observation about what they saw: “When I blink at the image, I see Marilyn Monroe, but if I stop blinking and I stare, I see Albert Einstein. Weird.”

Still another commenter wondered: “The interesting thing is, I’ve heard a lot of people can’t de-focus their eyes, it’s what happens when I space out, and I learned how to do by itself. Many people I’ve talked to can’t do it. Is this a thing, or do my friends just have crappy eyes?”