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The Mona Lisa effect is that eerie feeling that the eyes of painting are following us. But, according to Gernot Horstmann and Sebastian Loth, of Bielefeld University, Germany, the peepers of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece don’t actually do this at all. Their research, published in iPerception, is available here.
Newsweek’s article on the research includes a comment on this research by Christopher Tyler. Newsweek’s Kashmira Gander notes:
“Professor Christopher Tyler, a visual neuroscientist at City, University of London, U.K., who was not involved in the study, told Newsweek: “It seems very obvious that Mona Lisa is looking to your right, so it does not surprise me that the researchers were able to show that this is how people perceive it.
“What nobody seems to have explained, despite reams of text written on it, is why it works for some front-facing images and not others. My own view is that the key variable is the perceived depth, or 3D impression, of the face.
“When the face seems flat, the eyes following effect should be much less than when it has a lot of depth. I am not aware of any specific test of this hypothesis, however.”
Continue reading “Scientific Legend of Mona Lisa’s Famous Gaze Debunked”
doi.org/10.2352/ISSN.2470-1173.2018.14.HVEI-535 © 2018, Society for Imaging Science and Technology