Right Side UpUpside Down

Here are two exercises to help you see how you feel when the familiar is somehow changed. Write your name (this is something you're used to). Now look at it in a mirror—is it hard to read?

Look at it upside down. For some, this is even harder to read than a mirror image.

Try looking at your signature upside down and backwards. Does it appear to be hieroglyphics or a foreign language—or no language at all?

Normal signature

Upside down

Backwards (in mirror)

Upside down and backwards

Normal signature

Upside down

Backwards (in mirror)

Upside down and backwards

Try looking at your signature upside down and backwards. Here's Lauren's.

Now, look at yourself in the mirror. This, too, is what you're used to.

Look at a photo of yourself; it will look slightly different because we are all a little asymmetrical, and the mirror image is the one we're most familiar with. Look at the photo of yourself upside down. Does this look a little odd to you? Now look at it upside down and in the mirror. This looks even stranger, doesn't it?

Photos of Lauren, right side up and upside down.

Photos of Lauren, right side up and upside down.

Try Your Hand

If you need a new career, you might be interested to know that forgers practice new signatures upside down, to pay more attention to the shapes of a particular hand and less to the letters themselves. You might want to try this even if you are gainfully employed. Just don't try to pass one of those checks with a forged signature!

We know our world—or think that we do—because we can identify and remember. Upside down or backwards, things look a little odd or even unsettling, particularly faces and handwriting, because they're asymmetrical. Our logical left brain is easily confused when our memory is different from reality, and visual tricks or problems are frustrating. The organized memory is of no use here and often gives up or over to the relative right. For us, that's good news—it's just what we want to happen!

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