When you hold up a sign that says "Food" in the mirror, it flips and reads "dooF," but the letters remain upright. Because, you see, objects appear to be flipped horizontally in the mirror because we flip them horizontally. The word "food" is backward because that's how it looks when you write it!
This phoenixtype error is called "mirror writing" and it's usually caused by a condition called "visual agnosia." This means that someone can perceive light and color, but they cannot recognize faces or objects. It may also be caused by "proprioceptive agnosia" which means that someone can feel things like pain or temperature, but they cannot recognize their own body parts. Finally, visual agnosia can also be caused by illness or damage to the brain.
People with this problem seem to have no idea that anything is wrong. They may even try to read signs that are upside down or repeat words that they say out loud. In addition, they may write words that they think are directions but then find out later that they wrote the opposite of what they wanted.
Mirror writing can be very frustrating for patients and families alike. If you suspect that your friend or family member has mirror writing, start by asking them if they know why things look reversed in the mirror.
Holding a word up to a mirror such that you can see both the word and its reflection in the mirror at the same time reveals that they both read in the same way, implying that there is no right-left flipping. The photograph below captures this impact...
Mirrors do not display an image from one side only. They also reflect part of the scene behind the mirror, as well as our faces. If you look into a mirror while holding a pencil upright, you will see that its end bends over toward you rather than away. This occurs because when you look into a mirror your left eye sees the object directly ahead and your right eye sees what is reflected behind it. When you hold the pencil straight out in front of you, both eyes see it at the same time, so there is nothing for it but to read the word left-right flipped.
In fact, every word you see in a mirror does exactly that: flips between left and right relative to where it is on your page. So if you are reading this sentence in the mirror, most of the words will appear reversed.
This phenomenon arises because your eyes move along with the letters on the page. As you read each letter, it moves closer to you or farther away depending on whether the letter is higher or lower than your current gaze.
"Lateral Inversion" refers to the phenomena in which your left appears as your right and vice versa in a mirror. When a plane mirror is held perpendicular to a plane of paper with the word "POLEX" printed on it, it produces a laterally inverted picture. This occurs because all objects appear upright when viewed from the side but are turned over when seen from the front.
In English, we invert letters before they are printed or typed (for example, "dear" becomes "dear"). This process is called "capitalsization." Computer printers avoid this problem by printing upside down; they then flip the page over so that what was once up is now down and vice versa.
People who see words laterally inverted often claim that they seem to be backwards or upside down. In fact, they are not; it's just that our brains invert them before we see them. The same thing happens with drawings and photographs; think for example how surprised you would be if you saw a picture of a house without its roof!
Mirrors can be used to create images with text that cannot be achieved any other way. For example, a mirror can be used to display book covers in a gallery. The disadvantage is that people will be able to read the texts!
The lateral inversion effect has been used in advertising.
Another type of reversal is mirror writing. This signifies the individual is writing backwards, from right to left, with the characters looking as though seen in a mirror. According to one common explanation, letter reversals, number reversals, and mirror writing are caused by a neurological defect. Such individuals have brain damage that causes them to repeat themselves and call attention to themselves. They also have an impaired ability to understand what others are saying to them.
In other words, letters seem reversed in a mirror because you are presenting them to the mirror in reverse. If you printed the words on the T-shirt such that you could read them from the inside, they would appear inverted to an approaching person, but they would look wonderful in a mirror. This effect is called visual inversion and it can be used to create humorous advertisements or artistic images.
Writing that is mirrored on a wall appears backwards because you are viewing it from the outside. If you were to walk up to the wall and view it from the inside, the writing would not appear reversed.
Writing that is mirrored on paper appears backwards because you are viewing it with our eyes. If you were to scan the page with an optical scanner, the writing would appear reversed due to its orientation in space.
Writing that is mirrored on metal appears backwards because you are viewing it with our eyes. If you were to photograph the page with a digital camera, the writing would appear reversed due to its orientation in space.
Writing that is mirrored on glass appears backwards because you are viewing it with our eyes. If you were to visit the room where this image was created, the writing would not appear reversed because it's based on our perspective as viewers rather than as writers.
The solution is simple: you flipped the paper around yourself, which is why the letter is inverted. Mirrors are explained in the same way. We turn something around to face the glass in order to see it in a mirror. This is what causes the lateral inversion from left to right: the mirror itself is unimportant. What matters is that its reflection appears in the same order as the original object.
In reality, turning objects upside down in order to read them is a modern habit that has no basis in science. However, there are a few studies that show how inversion influences our perception of words on paper. For example, Italian researchers found that people can understand better letters that have been reversed. They also discovered that readers prefer to start at the beginning of a text instead of the end. Finally, they showed that inverting pages of a book improves recall of the content.
So, flipping through pages of a book to look for something specific may help us remember it later. That's why when you flip through old photos, look through your closet shelves, or go through your mailbox, you'll often come across items that you've lost track of.
However, other things about reading letters turned out to be more complicated than expected. For example, American scientists have shown that reading letters from left to right helps people recognize them later. Why? Because our brains are used to processing language this way and it's easier for us to identify known letters if we follow this rule.