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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Why We Look Better in Real Life Than Photos

In the fairy tale, the queen owned a sparkling magic mirror. She would go to the magic mirror every day and ask: “Mirror, mirror, who is the most beautiful woman in the world?” And the magic mirror would always answer her: “Mirror, mirror, who is the most beautiful woman in the world?” Queen, it’s you!” When we were children, we always thought that this was the answer that the magic mirror deliberately said in order to win the favor of the queen. In fact, from a scientific point of view, this may not be an exaggeration of the magic mirror. We in the mirror do look better than we really do.
Have you ever been confused like this: The self in the mirror is obviously full of charm, but every time you take a picture, you always feel that you are not as good-looking as you are in the mirror, and even a little strange. Don’t we see ourselves in the mirror differently from how we see ourselves in other people’s eyes?
In response to this phenomenon, psychologists proposed the “frozen face effect.” The “frozen” in the frozen face effect is very interesting. It seems to mean that our beauty is temporarily “frozen” in the photo. In fact, the “frozen” here refers to a still state. Scientific research has found that faces in action are far more attractive than faces in static conditions.
When watching a TV series, you may feel that a certain actor is charming. However, when you pause the video and observe the actor’s face in a specific frame, you will feel that the fixed face is far less beautiful and charming than when it is played. attraction. This is the frozen face effect at work.
Why are dynamic faces more attractive than static faces?
Every day, you stand in front of the mirror, do various things, and look at your face. Over time, our brains will generate repeated memories, and we will go through the process of going from familiarity to liking to identifying with ourselves in the mirror, and remember this image very deeply. According to psychological research, such repeated exposure in daily life will cause people to prefer things they are familiar with. We will naturally feel that we look good in the mirror, and our brain will also produce a certain filter effect. When others see us, they are very objective and have not been beautified by the brain’s memory, so the phenomenon in which you see yourself is different from what others see.
What exactly does the frozen face effect “freeze”? This should be explored from human communication. Scientists have found that when people communicate face to face, they will transmit a very rich information to each other, including 7% of language information, 38% of voice information and 55% of body language information. This is even more Making someone discover your charm is far more than a static photo. In photos, in addition to lighting, composition and other reasons, the three-dimensionality of human facial features will also be weakened to a certain extent. Photos can only convey very little information, so it is difficult for us to feel the true charm of a person in such a static state. There is no doubt that in still photos, our vivid and three-dimensional images are “frozen”.
In front of the mirror, we blink, frown, smile, and even change the angle to look at ourselves. These subtle movements and expressions will make us look more beautiful. Therefore, we have a lively and dynamic face in the mirror, which will of course be different from ourselves in the photo. It’s like when we look at a picture of Snow White, we only think she is an ordinary beautiful woman, but the dwarfs who spend time with her can deeply feel the charm she exudes, including her language, voice, temperament, etc. The facial recognition system of our brain is originally targeting dynamic faces to identify, process and judge various information about visitors. Dynamic faces will make it easier to activate our facial recognition system, making it easier for us to judge and feel the charm of the other person.
This is also the reason why portrait photography and facial photography are very difficult. Therefore, it is very difficult to express as much of a person’s temperament as possible in a still photo. In contrast, the dynamic faces in the video can show people’s charm in all aspects.
From this, you can know that beauty is not just determined by appearance. The position and size of the facial features are just the criteria for judging whether a static face is attractive. It is the mental state, temperament, personality and other details in the dynamic face that will make you more beautiful. Your every smile and every move will convey a unique message and become an impressive memory. Therefore, from a scientific point of view, the real and three-dimensional you in life is far more beautiful than the you in photos.
So, don’t worry about why you don’t take photos, a few photos can’t define your beauty at all. Beauty always wanders between movements. When you move naturally and express yourself to your heart’s content, your face will be liberated from the “frozen” state in the photo, showing a more flexible and three-dimensional self. At that time, you don’t have to be like the queen who asks the magic mirror “who is the most beautiful woman in the world” every day, because the most beautiful you has already broken through the mirror and is standing there.

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