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young girl/old woman figure


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A popular ambiguous figure that does not depend on figure-ground reversal and that appears as a portrait of a young girl or an old woman (see illustration). It was copied from an anonymous German postcard issued in 1888 and published as a cartoon by the US artist William Ely Hill (1887–1962) in Puck magazine in 1915 under the title My Wife and My Mother-in-law. They are Both in this Picture—Find Them, then it was adapted and republished in 1930 by the US psychologist Edwin Garrigues Boring (1886–1968), to whom it is often wrongly attributed. In 1961 the US psychologist Jack Botwinick (1923–2006) published a version equally as unflattering to old men entitled Husband and Father-in-law. Also called the old woman/young girl figure, the wife/mistress figure, or (misleadingly) the Boring figure.

Subjects: Psychology.


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