Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Humans Do Not Understand Mirror Reflections, Say Researchers

Date:
December 22, 2005
Source:
University of Liverpool
Summary:
Psychologists at the University of Liverpool have found that people still find it difficult to understand how mirrors work.

Psychologists at the University of Liverpool have found that people still find it difficult to understand how mirrors work.

Dr Marco Bertamini, from the University's School of Psychology, conducted a number of experiments by covering a mirror on a wall and inviting participants to walk along a line parallel to the mirror.

He asked them to guess the point at which they would be able to see their reflection. Results showed that people believe they can see themselves even before they are level with the near edge of the mirror.

Dr Bertamini said: "People tend not to understand that the location of the viewer matters in terms of what is visible in a mirror. A good example of this is what we call the Venus Effect, which relates to the many famous paintings of the goddess Venus, looking in a small mirror.

"If you were to look at these paintings, you would assume that Venus is admiring her own face, because you see her face in the mirror. Your viewpoint, however, is rather different from hers; if you can see her in the mirror then she would see you in the mirror."

Participants were also asked to estimate the image size of their head as it appears on the surface of the mirror. They estimated that it would be a similar size to their physical head. However, participants based their answer on the image they saw inside the mirror rather than on the image on the surface of it. They failed to recognise that the image on the surface of the mirror is half the size of the observer because a mirror is always halfway between the observer and the image that appears inside the mirror.

Dr Bertamini added: "Mirrors make us see virtual objects that exist in a virtual world; they are windows onto this world. On the one hand we trust what we see, but on the other hand this is a world that we know has no physical existence. This is one of the reasons why throughout history people have been fascinated by mirrors."



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Liverpool. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Liverpool. "Humans Do Not Understand Mirror Reflections, Say Researchers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 December 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051222085558.htm>.
University of Liverpool. (2005, December 22). Humans Do Not Understand Mirror Reflections, Say Researchers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051222085558.htm
University of Liverpool. "Humans Do Not Understand Mirror Reflections, Say Researchers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051222085558.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins