Ever wondered how Superman could get away with a pair of glasses and a new hairstyle as a disguise?
New research by Kramer and Kay Ritchie reveals why even small alterations to someone’s appearance like donning glasses or adopting different body language can be sufficient to elude detection.
For the new study, Kramer and Ritchie used pairs of photographs similar to those found on social media sites, asking participants to decide whether the person pictured in each was the same.
They included pairs of images where both faces were wearing glasses, images where neither person wore glasses, and images where only one image showed the person wearing glasses.
According to their new paper in Applied Cognitive Psychology, when both faces pictured either wore glasses or didn’t wear glasses, participants made the right call 80% of the time.
But when only one of the pictured faces wore glasses, that accuracy dipped by about 6 percent. While not a huge difference, this is a discrepancy worth noting.
The one big caveat is that these results only apply to strangers.
Still, we think this is much better than the official DC explanation given in Superman #330, which sees him focusing a hypnotizing beam through special glasses with kryptonite lenses.