Where Do You Look First?

Countless studies have shown to researchers that humans flicker their eyes to the left of a person facing them. This happens to you as well when you use a mirror as, obviously, you're facing your mirror image. This automatic reaction has implications on your everyday life you should consider.

Researchers have shown time and again that humans flicker their eyes towards the left when looking at a person opposite of them. They do this to read emotions shown on the right side of the face of their opposite. The right side of the face shows more emotions than the left, as it is steered by the more emotional left side of the brain. This reaction is called the left gaze bias. It means for one, training your poker face in front of a mirror is a total waste of time as you are looking at the more impassive part of your face.

Left gaze bias happens to you whether you look at a real face, a mirror, or a photograph. While it makes sense when looking at a real face, it’s a nuisance when using a mirror. As your eyes flicker to the left, they look at your own left side of the face. This makes you look at yourself unlike anybody else and fuels many minor points of contention. It means that your view of yourself is unique and uniquely yours.

Spent hours in front of the mirror doing your make-up, your hair? What do you get when you ask for confirmation of success? A non-committal grunt or outright evasive actions were not the things you were looking for. But what went wrong? Due to the left gaze bias you concentrated your efforts on your left half of the face, while the persons meeting you will look at your right side. To see yourself as others do, you would need a double mirror construction to look at yourself as others see you.

The use (or may I say the frequent use?) of the mirror leads to another minor irritation. When you see photographs of yourself, you tend not to like them, or at least you tend not to like those that everybody else likes. The photographs you choose of yourself as the best are those that get nearest to your mirror image, while the others choose the ones that are ‘the right way round’.

What usually might be a minor irritation to you might become a real problem when choosing a photograph for your next job application. Let someone near to you choose that photograph, as the persons inviting you for an interview will have that photograph before them. It is to your advantage if the person on the photograph is as near as possible to the person they see, not the person you would like to appear.

A further implication of the mirror problem lies in social networking sites. Those that went on a date with a person from such a date might have wondered why the person they met was so different from the person they saw on the photographs. Very often you see people putting in photographs they took of themselves in the mirror, which means you meet the mirror image of what you saw on the site. As for the rest of the photographs, who ever went to their best friend and asked for them to choose the best photographs for the site?

In short, whenever you need to present yourself at your best advantage, ask someone else. They see you the way others do, and the others are in the majority.

You might extend left gaze bias thinking to when arranging things attractively in your trousers. I have no clue if it works, but it is always worth a try, wouldn't you agree?

Further reading