Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall


Bailey gets a bit freaked out when she sees herself in a mirror. She barks, and seems to wonder whether her image is a friend or foe. She wags her tail and MirrorBailey wags her tail back. But until she gets distracted by a slipper or the new deposit in the kitchen garbage can, she's visibly on edge. Today's New York Times science section had a fascinating article on the use of mirrors in science to learn about human and animal behavior. Responses to your literal self-image - when you're staring back at yourself in a mirror - show, in short, what a tool you are. Or I am (I'm not thinking the article wasn't talking to me too). The real ego-bruiser was the study that suggested people were quicker to identify themselves in a crowd of similar-looking photos only if the photo of them was enhanced to be more attractive looking. Oh, sexy? There I am! The news wasn't much better for Bailey, if she stops sniffing other dogs' behinds long enough to care: it suggested that only animals with very "sophisticated social lives" readily identify themselves in a mirror.

UPDATE: For a less PG-rated account of Bailey's social life, click here.


Sarah O. said...

All right, I'm ready to admit it - the Bailster isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. It's a good thing she's so damn cute.

janb said...

You know you miss her since she went home, though, don't you? I like the captions on your pictures! What a cute story, and thanks for the link to another Bailey story, it was hilarious.