What's The Most Accurate Image You See Your Actual Self In The Mirror?

I’m generally OK with the reflection I see in the mirror, but the camera casts a pall on my visage. To my surprise, science agrees that the mirror is to blame, but not for the reasons I’d thought.It comes down to facial symmetry, and in this regard my face is skewed. My chin is crooked, my eyes don’t line up, and there’s a weird bay in my hairline on my left forehead. News flash: your face probably isn’t absolutely symmetrical either. Only a few people come close, and even some models and actors have crooked faces.

This matters because of an effect called “mere-exposure.” Formulated in 1968 by a psychologist named Robert Zajonc, it basically says that people react more favourably to things they seen more often. Zajonc tested this with everything from shapes, to facial expressions, even nonsense words. Since we see ourselves most frequently in the mirror, this is our preferred self-image. According to the mere-exposure effect, when your slight facial asymmetries are left unflipped by the camera, you see an unappealing, alien version of yourself.

What's the most accurate to see your actual self?

So the mirror lies, and you might be more beautiful than you think. Then again, a 2008 study showed that people tend to think they’re more attractive than they actually are.

In this experiment, researchers altered pictures of participants to make them look more and less attractive by melding them with a photo of an attractive—or unattractive—person of the same gender. Then, they mixed these versions of each person in with photos of strangers and asked the subjects to pick themselves out of the line up. People were quicker to pick the photo of themselves when it was more attractive—as if they were quicker to recognize a more attractive version of themselves. (These findings, by the way, run contrary to research that suggests most people have a negative view of their own body. But that’s a story for another day.)

So, in addition to mere-exposure, those pictures of your own face just aren’t living up to your own outsized expectations.

This makes sense to me: In my mind’s eye, I looked pretty dashing in the stories my friends told me, even though I was getting pie-eyed on whiskey, climbing on the bar top for the midnight countdown, high-fiving my way through a bar full of strangers (my own recollection of these details is kinda foggy). So friends, if you own pictures of any of these events, I ask that you flip them around before putting them on Facebook, and I’ll try to keep my vanity in check.


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What Guys Said 1

  • That's funny, cause I look better on the mirror than in photos... so what does that mean?

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    • That you can't take a photo.

      Most pictures are pictures from a device, they have bad quality and the lighting is mostly bad.

      Try to make a video of yourself and compare it to your mirror.

      Cause if you make a picture, you should have it from a good angle with good light. And make sure you make a lot of them, cause 1 picture can't tell how you look cause sometimes you will make some funny faces

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    • Well in a picture you freeze, and a mobile camera doesn't have the best quality and don't forgot that people see things diffrent than a camera does.

      If you were photogenic you wouldn't have a problem. And don't forgot mirrors are the opposite of how we look.

      They also say we get used to things and people we see a lot, and most people look a lot in the mirror

    • Yeah, I do look a lot more in the mirror than in pics

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