My Wife and My Mother-in-Law

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"My Wife and My Mother-in-Law" is a famous ambiguous optical illusion, which can be perceived either as a young girl or an old woman (the "wife" and the "mother-in-law", respectively).


"My Wife and My Mother-in-Law" from 1915
1888 German postcard

British cartoonist William Ely Hill (1887–1962) published "My Wife and My Mother-in-Law" in Puck, an American humour magazine, on 6 November 1915, with the caption "They are both in this picture — Find them".[1] However, the oldest known form of this image is an 1888 German postcard.[2]

In 1930 Edwin Boring introduced the figure to psychologists in a paper titled "A new ambiguous figure", and it has since appeared in textbooks and experimental studies.[3]


  1. ^ "My wife and my mother-in-law. They are both in this picture – find them". Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Library of Congress. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Weisstein, Eric W. "Young Girl-Old Woman Illusion". MathWorld. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  3. ^ Botwinick, Jack (June 1961). "Husband and Father-in-Law—A Reversible Figure". The American Journal of Psychology. 74 (2). 

See also[edit]