News & Views
What you see isn’t what you get

Do you know about the Mere-exposure effect? It’s the psychologically proven theory that the more we look at something the more we like it. It’s a very reassuring theory as it means even if you can’t get a good looking partner … just give it about 6 months and your brain will get used to it!

We see ourselves in the mirror every day and have become accustomed to how we look based on this mirror image. We think we have worked out how to make ourselves most attractive and we then try to get as close to that image as possible.

But what we see in the mirror isn’t what people looking at us see. They are used to how our face actually is (i.e. fringe to the right) whereas we are used to a mirror image of our face (i.e. fringe to the left). Therefore, people think they look more attractive in photographs that have been flipped horizontally as that is the view of themselves they are used to. BUT their friends rate the non flipped photograph as more attractive because that is the view they are used to.

This effect is undetectable as well, people do not notice that their image has been flipped round to their view … in fact they often produce a range of reasons why they believe they’re more attractive such as ‘better lighting’ ‘a less wonky smile’ ‘or a smaller forehead’ when it’s actually just because it’s what they’re used to seeing.

So which way out do you print your holiday photos – So you look more attractive to you or so you look more attractive to other people? I’m going for two sets!

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