Mirrors do you GOOD says new Japanese study!

Smiling woman wearing glasses looking directly into camera

Good news!! Japanese researchers have found that looking in the mirror does do me good! Mirrors do you GOOD.

“Researchers have found that the subliminal presentation of images of one’s own face activates a central component of the dopamine reward pathway, thus illuminating the mechanisms behind our powerful ability to automatically prioritize processing of our own face.”

Normal words:

If I look in the mirror without actually doing it deliberately (subliminally), I get a ‘high’. This ‘high’ will show me I like looking at my own face best.

“These findings have important implications for understanding the neural processes involved in automatic self-advantage in face processing, as well as discriminating the processes involved in supraliminal (conscious) and subliminal (subconscious) facial perceptions.”

Normal words:

This helps me understand the nerve pathways which prioritise my face in looking at myself.

Osaka University, which published the latest research concluded the happiness high works best with faces, not other body parts. To work this out the researchers used MRI scans of participants’ brains on seeing images of themselves and others. (1) This strikes me as logical.

I’m pleased to read this. I’ve spent a lot of time smiling at myself whilst I work, and found it cheering. I’ve been accused of ‘narcissism’. Over-love of myself ? To me its been self-cheering, and now I’ve got confirmation.

However, in Scientific American the lecturer Sarah Dunphy-Lelii – Bard University – says the opposite, that it’s disturbing to look at my own image. Where’s the evidence? Who does it disturb? I’m quoting just this article, but many writers reference their own feelings and then assume that ‘we’ are similar.

This is irritating and presumptuous.

For example she writes: “But observing your perfect double as a body-in-action remains, for most people, distracting and awkward. My favorite local restaurant has angled the mirrors behind the tables so that I can enjoy the light and movement they offer but needn’t watch myself socialize.” (2)

My comment is ‘speak for yourself’. Personally I choose a chair with a good reflection and I smile at myself for cheer.

The Osaka research helps understanding of people who don’t like looking in the mirror or their own faces. Are they missing out on an aspect of self nourishment.? A lovely quote from the Oxford University Press which also published the research:

“The self-face has a special meaning to humans because of its importance for our identity and our sense of self.”

There are charities working to help people who find it difficult. Some who work in the beauty field will accept donations of make up, often difficult to re-cycle. Until I researched this I didn’t know where to donate used or ‘gently used’ beauty products. I didn’t even know I could. It’s here –


Other references (1) https://resou.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/research/20210416_1
(2) https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-weirdness-of-watching-yourself-on-zoom/

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