Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It Hurts Us

I came across this photo-shopped image today:

What I find more interesting than the picture itself is that the image is literally painful to look at. It actually hurts me, somewhere about4 cm behind the bridge of my nose, when I focus on the woman's face. (As I write this, I am pointedly avoiding glancing up at the photo. I believe this phenomenon says a great deal about how the human brain is either hardwired or trained. I don't feel repulsed when looking at spiders with 4 or 6 eyes, but this 4-eyed, 2-mouthed woman falls squarely into my uncanny valley.*

* By the way, I expect and hope that any extraterrestrials I ever have the opportunity to meet land firmly on the far side of said divide.


  1. Mostly, for me, I think it's that my brain keeps thinking that I just haven't focused on her yet and my eyes keep trying to focus. So, for me it's not so much an aversion as actually uncomfortable.

  2. I believe Alison has put her finger on the immediate reason for the pain in my head. I still contend that the root cause is my expectation that a human face will have but 2 eyes and 1 mouth.

  3. Anonymous4:23 PM

    I think its odd that neither set of eyes or either mouth are in the right position; but instead the doubles are centered so that they would fall on the top and the bottom of where the real mouth or the real eyes would be. So basically no matter which set you focus on they are wrong. That's what throws me the most. And yeah I had the pain too. Weird.