Don’t Look In That Mirror!
Posted by Gail | Filed under Psychology
As the latest evidence that the brain believes what the eyes sees, scientists at the University of Tokyo have invented a way to convince you that when you look in the mirror you like what you see. And if you happened to be in a clothing store trying on a dress that doesn’t quite fit, so be it.
I’ve written before about how by manipulating our physicality we can actually change our emptions. Plant a smile on your face and your muscles will send signals to your brain that you’re happy. Even if all you’re doing is holding a pencil between your teeth, the upward tilt to your lips means you’ll feel happier. And apparently more willing to shop.
In an experiment volunteers were asked to look at themselves in a mirror where a webcam image of their face stared back at them. Software was then used to manipulate the image, turning mouth corners up or down and changing the area our the eyes so those people saw themselves smiling or frowning.
The folks who saw themselves smiling reported feeling happier. The reverse was true too: frowners felt less happy. They weren’t actually smiling or frowning, mind you, the manipulated image had tricked their brains into thinking the were and so their overall sense well being was also manipulated. Damn!
Participants were then given a scarf to wear and presented with their altered webcam image. If participants saw themselves smiling in the scarf they like the scarf more.
So how would you feel about being presented with an altered image so that you were more predisposed to liking what you were trying on? While the technology is not yet ready for the shops, it may be only a matter of time. Chris Creed at the University of Birmingham was quoted as saying, “You could argue that if it makes people happy what harm is it doing?” Hey, apparently it’s open territory on our emotions. Buyer beware.