Reflections in a Mirror

Main Article Content

Damian Cox


In this paper, I develop a solution to the puzzle of mirror perception: why do mirrors appear to reverse the image of an object along a left/right axis and not around other axes, such as the top/bottom axis? I set out the different forms the puzzle takes and argue that one form of it – arguably the key form – has not been satisfactorily solved. I offer a solution in three parts: setting out the conditions in which an apparent left/right reversal of mirror images is generated; explaining why these conditions are so often met; explaining why we are cognitively biased towards the perception of left/right reversal when these conditions are met.
Author Biography

Damian Cox, Faculty of Society and Design, Bond University

Damian Cox, PhD
Associate Professor
Faculty of Society and Design, Bond University
Bond University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, 4229


Block [1974] – Ned Block, Why do Mirrors Reverse right/left but not up/down?, “Journal of Philosophy” (71) 1974.

Denyer [1994] - Nicholas Denyer, Why do Mirrors Reverse Left/Right and not Up/Down? “Philosophy” (69) 1994.

Eco [1999] - Umberto Eco, Kant and the Platypus: Essays on Language and Cognition, trans. A. McEwan, Secker & Warburg, London 1999.

Gardner [1982] - Martin Gardner, The Ambidextrous Universe 2nd Edition, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1982.

Gregory [1997] - Richard Gregory, Mirrors in Mind, Freeman and Co., New York 1997.

Ittelson et. al. [1991] - William H. IIttelson, Lyn Mowafy, and Diane Magid, The perception of mirror-reflected objects “Perception” (20) 1991.

Pears [1952] - David Pears, Incongruity of Counterparts “Mind” (61)1952.

Plato [1982] – Plato, Timaeus, trans. B. Jowett in The Collected Dialogues of Plato, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1982.

Takano [1997] - Yohtaro Takano, Why does a mirror image look left-right reversed? A hypothesis of multiple processes “Psychonomic Bulletin and Review” (5)1997.

Takano and Tanaka [2007] - Yohtaro Takano and Akihiro Tanaka, Mirror reversal: Empirical tests of competing accounts “The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology” (60), 2007.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
COX, D. Reflections in a Mirror. Diametros, n. 41, p. 1-12, 12 set. 2014.