Comforting Thought: Humans are hardwired to be attracted to imperfection

The Sensual World of The Unseen By Photographer Duane Michaels

Humans instinctively understand the organic imperfections of the human face, however we experience a ‘visual shock’ when we see severe disfigurement. Taken from the fascinating book ‘You May Also Like’ by Tom Vanderbilt.


There is one brain response that never falters – severe disfigurement. And so Bacon’s ‘Visual Shock’ as he calls it seems to tap into this innate response. The visual shock may be something acutely felt, much in the same way as when looking at disfigured images of another sort – perfectly symmetrical faces. Human faces naturally have a kind of asymmetry. All beauty hath some strangeness in its proportion’ said Francis Bacon. When you look at computer generated portraits of perfectly symmetrical faces you can feel a tickle in the brain.

You May Also Like by Tom Vanderbilt

Comforting Thought: We are in a tight spot girl with mirror Duane Michaels

Read the review: You May Also Like by Tom Vanderbilt

Book Review: You May Also Like by Tom Vanderbilt

Ever wondered why you like some things and dislike others? The answers may surprise you. ‘You May Also Like’ is a bubbly, effervescent, fun, erudite and informative book that I managed to breeze through in only one evening. It was so incredible that I bookmarked almost every second or third page. It’s just one of those books. Each page gives you an AHA moment of recognition (as Oprah would say). It turns out that our unique pastimes, preferences and peccadilloes are not as specific to you as an individual as you may have thought!


Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

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