The Strange-face-in-the-mirror Illusion

The old parlor trick of staring at yourself in a mirror until your face starts to change has now been studied scientifically. Giovanni Caputo led a study in which 50 people tried the trick and reported their reactions.

At the end of a 10 min session of mirror gazing, the participant was asked to write what he or she saw in the mirror. The descriptions differed greatly across individuals and included: (a) huge deformations of one’s own face (reported by 66% of the fifty participants); (b) a parent’s face with traits changed (18%), of whom 8% were still alive and 10% were deceased; (c) an unknown person (28%); (d) an archetypal face, such as that of an old woman, a child, or a portrait of an ancestor (28%); (e) an animal face such as that of a cat, pig, or lion (18%); (f ) fantastical and monstrous beings (48%).

Have you ever tried this? The effect can be really creepy, like this video example from Lasse Gjertsen (in Norwegain, but may sound NSFW). The entire article is available as a pdf, or you can read a summary at Mind Hacks. Link -via Metafilter

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

I've done this often. It's an interesting, quick meditation method. You can see al sorts of strange things.

To those who say they can't see anything - stop staring and relax.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
@Rumson You state in the mirror while tripping on acid? Are you trying to give yourself a severe psychotic break?

I couldn't even pass a mirror in that state, things would reach out at me.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Yeah, this is an interesting thing to do to your mind. Did it with a few friends when I was 19, while tripping on acid. Verrry intense, kinda scary, and often hilarious. Give it a shot, I DARE you!!!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I didn't know this was a thing anyone else experienced. I don't get anything too weird, but I've always had a weird disconnect when I look at myself in the mirror too long, like there's another person on the other side of the glass. Interesting.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.
Email This Post to a Friend
"The Strange-face-in-the-mirror Illusion"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More