The theory has been presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, this week.
The smile disappeared when it was looked at because of the way the human eye processes visual information, said Prof Livingstone.
The eye uses two types of vision, foveal - direct vision - and peripheral. Foveal detects detail, but is less useful for detecting shadows.
Link (via Newsvine). Livingstone states that you can only really "see" the smile if you are looking directly at her eyes or another part of her face.
"The elusive quality of the Mona Lisa's smile can be explained by the fact that her smile is almost entirely in low spatial frequencies, and so is seen best by your peripheral vision," Prof Livingstone said.
Apparently scientists get a kick out of analyzing what makes these paintings tick. Now, I just want an answer to two questions.
- Does this prove that Vince Vaughn, in one of the final scenes of Swingers, merely misinterpreted that woman's smile due to looking straight into her face?
- Can I get one of these so-called scientists get a better look at this picture? I don't care what she thinks - if she sees more than a man, she's the liar.