These Brain Activity Readings Reveal Your Ideal Face

Photo: Courtesy of Scott Chasserot.
Last October, we were struck by the Original/Ideal project. Using a device that can read brain activity, the project's creator, photographer Scott Chasserot, was able to show people as their ideal selves. Now, Chasserot has launched a crowdfunding campaign to take it on the road — meaning this is your chance to get your own version.

To create the images, Chasserot first takes portraits of each subject. Then, he creates a separate series of images from the original photo in which each participant's photo is altered slightly, feature by feature. From there, the subject is shown each picture in the new series while wearing a brain-monitoring electroencephalogram (EEG) device.

In the original pilot study, Chasserot used just these readings to find the subjects' "idealized" versions of themselves and displayed them next to their original portraits. The results revealed some striking patterns in the way people see themselves — and the way they want to be seen. Some were totally cool with their faces, while others' "ideal" portraits had larger eyes or plumper lips.

But, for the next series, he's teaming up with Suzanne Dikker, PhD, a neuroscientist at New York University who specializes in EEG, to get more accurate readings of brain activity. And, he's adding another dimension: Participants will also fill out a survey created with the help of Alexander Todorov, PhD, a professor of psychology at Princeton, which will add another level of validity to the "ideal" concept.

However, the goal isn't a published paper in a scientific journal, as Chasserot explains on the Indiegogo page. Instead it seems he's more interested in using these scientific concepts to further explore the project's cultural and artisitic ideas. After a five-city tour, with stops in NYC, São Paulo, Johannesburg, Tokyo, and Stockholm, 35 completed diptychs will be published in a coffee table book accompanied by video interviews with the subjects to be shown online.

Check out the original diptychs here, and watch the video below to learn more about the process.
Video: Courtesy of Scott Chasserot.
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