Vanna – About Face

Vanna - About FaceVanna (or “About Face”) provides a startling example of the major role of memory and past experience in perception. Two photographs of a woman’s face (Vanna White) are mounted on turntables which are fixed to a wall. The turntables are weighted so that the photos are normally seen upside down, and they appear normal. However, when the visitor flips the pictures right side up, one photo looks grotesquely strange: the eyes and mouth in the photo have been cut out and inverted. The alteration of the photo is painfully obvious when viewed right side up, but much less noticeable when upside down. This is because the eyes and mouth are the two areas where we focus our attention most strongly when we look at faces.

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