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There's More to Mona Lisa Than Her Smile
Date:3/13/2010

ndition as any more or less mysterious than the other faces, however, which means there may be more than the elusive smile driving the artworks' allure.

Stephen Porter, a psychology professor at University of British Columbia, said the study has implications for how people process facial expression beyond the Mona Lisa.

"The most significant finding of this elegant, brilliant study was that people pick up on and are influenced by subtle information from another person's face at a subliminal level," Porter said. "It shows that we quickly analyze faces holistically but are not aware of this process. Our assessments of trustworthiness and attractiveness are affected in powerful ways by very subtle factors."

Unfortunately, those split-second assessments aren't always right. Research has shown that this split-second processing can lead to both correct and incorrect decisions about the personalities and intentions of others, Porter added.

More information

There's more on how vision works at the American Optometric Association.



SOURCES: Florian Hutzler, Ph.D, professor, psychology, Center for Neurocognitive Research, Paris-Lodron-Universitat Salzburg, Austria; Stephen Porter, Ph.D, psychology professor, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, B.C., Canada; February 2010 Pyschological Science


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