Visual perception during mirror gazing at one's own face in schizophrenia

Giovanni B. Caputo, Roberta Ferrucci, Marco Bortolomasi, Mario Giacopuzzi, Alberto Priori, Stefano Zago

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In normal observers gazing at one's own face in the mirror for some minutes, at a low illumination level, triggers the perception of strange faces, a new perceptual illusion that has been named 'strange-face in the mirror'. Subjects see distortions of their own faces, but often they see monsters, archetypical faces, faces of dead relatives, and of animals. Methods: We designed this study to primarily compare strange-face apparitions in response to mirror gazing in patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls. The study included 16 patients with schizophrenia and 21 healthy controls. In this paper we administered a 7 minute mirror gazing test (MGT). Before the mirror gazing session, all subjects underwent assessment with the Cardiff Anomalous Perception Scale (CAPS). When the 7. minute MGT ended, the experimenter assessed patients and controls with a specifically designed questionnaire and interviewed them, asking them to describe strange-face perceptions. Results: Apparitions of strange-faces in the mirror were significantly more intense in schizophrenic patients than in controls. All the following variables were higher in patients than in healthy controls: frequency (p.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-50
Number of pages5
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Misattribution of self-agency
  • Schizophrenia
  • Self
  • Strange-face-in-the mirror illusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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