Bizarre Strange-Face Illusion – A Scientific Mystery
Did you know that staring intensely into someone’s eyes or your own face in a mirror for more than 10 seconds consciousness changes and hallucinations begin to occur!
It is scientifically proven, and you can try it. This bizarre strange-face illusion remains a scientific mystery and it was discovered by vision researcher Giovanni Caputo from the University of Urbino in Italy.
The effects are even weirder when a person looks at one’s own face in the mirror in a dimly lit room for a few minutes.
As many as 90 % of those who participated in the experiments saw huge distortions of their own faces or monstrous beings, archetypal faces, faces of relatives and deceased, and animals. It should be added that all of the 50 participants were adults.
For some reason, people lost contact with reality and experienced this strange-face-illusion.
The effects were quite striking. quite striking:
At the end of a 10 min session of mirror gazing, the participant was asked to write what he or she saw in the mirror. The descriptions differed greatly across individuals and included: (a) huge deformations of one’s own face (reported by 66% of the fifty participants); (b) a parent’s face with traits changed (18%), of whom 8% were still alive and 10% were deceased; (c) an unknown person (28%); (d) an archetypal face, such as that of an old woman, a child, or a portrait of an ancestor (28%); (e) an animal face such as that of a cat, pig, or lion (18%); (f ) fantastical and monstrous beings (48%).
Caputo admits it’s unknown what is behind this uncanny phenomenon. One possible explanation is that this is the “consequence of snapping back to “reality” after entering a dissociative state brought about by the lack of sensory stimulation.
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When we stare at a central point for a prolonged period, features in the periphery begin to gradually disappear, something known as Troxler fading. But if this were to explain what seems to be happening, then we would expect facial features to gradually vanish, rather than having strange things appear, IFL Science reports.
It is possible as Mind Hacks reports that “the dramatic effects might be caused by a combination of basic visual distortions affecting the face-specific interpretation system.
The visual system starts to adapt after we receive the same information over time (this is why you can experience visual changes by staring at anything for a long time) but we also have a system that interprets faces very easily.
This is why we can ‘see’ faces in clouds, trees, or even from just two dots and a line. The brain is always ‘looking for faces’ and it is likely that we have a specialised face detection system to allow us to recognise individuals whose faces actually only differ a small amount in statistical terms from other people’s.”
The strange-face illusion is still unexplained. You can try what you see in the mirror if you go into a slightly darker room.