enter image description here

You may have seen this image on the web or in an email with the following description:

Scientific research showed that children can’t recognise erotic scenes. Instead they see 9 dolphins. On the other hand, adult’s mind is rather “corrupted” so adult person may have problems spoting 9 dolphins at first eye glaze. If you have trouble spoting dolphins in the first 6 seconds, then your mind is heavily corrupted, and you are seriously obsessed with sex! …better go and practice with easier examples.

Is this a pervert test? If it's not, what's the best way to refute the claim? The beauty of this test is that trying to refute it makes you look like a pervert.

  • 15
    Dolphins are pervs. You're corrupt either way...
    – Shog9
    Sep 1, 2011 at 16:53
  • 29
    It's only perverted because those 2 people are covered in dolphins :) Sep 1, 2011 at 17:47
  • 12
    If seeing naked people instead of dolphins is wrong, I don't want to be right. Also, it seems to me that seeing an erotic image instead of dolphins is a good thing (for the sake of the species, of course). Not being able to pick up on cues like this=less reproduction? Given that the definition of "pervert" is closely tied to a particular (a) time and (b) place it seems like a pretty anachronistic question. Sep 1, 2011 at 20:22
  • 10
    Where is this claim that it's a 'pervert' test? There's a lot of difference between saying "children don't recognize the sexual image" and "only perverts recognize the sexual image"? Sep 1, 2011 at 20:23
  • 5
    I think the question falsely equates sexual awareness with perversion. Apart from that what's wrong with being turned on by dolphins?
    – matt_black
    Oct 14, 2011 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


The picture is an optical illusion created by Sandro Del Prete. He is an artist specialising in this kind of endeavours. In his own words:

“Everything we see can be seen in another way. Therefore, I ask myself; isn't everything an illusion anyway? Reality is but a question of perception, and perception inevitably varies according to one’s viewpoint. Different viewpoints lead to different dimensions.”


If you look up the image on his web site, you will see that he confirms this, and that the image is certainly not a "pervert" test.

He does state that probably kids will be more likely to see dolphins and adults the sensual embrace, however he does not say this is backed up by any scientific research, so I am going to take that statement as artistic speculation and not hard fact.

This illustration incorporates a figure/ground perceptual reversal, and is an excellent example of one’s viewpoint being primed through experience. If one is young and innocent, they will most likely perceive a group of dolphins. Adults, on the other hand, will probably see a couple in a suggestive embrace.

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