On the RadioLab Mirror Mirror page, there is a photo of Lincoln that they used in the live version of the show. There is some discussion about how the strong asymettry of his face is what causes the strong contrast between images, but that if you just see one without the other, both look normal. Well here are some other examples which hopefully will show how different the reverse image really is!
By the way, the big gasp did come from people when it was reversed partially because it was on a huge screen – the effect was much stronger and stranger: Here is a video someone posted of that image swap:
Princess Diana in the only known image with a right part - notice how sultry!
Princess Diana with her usual left part - she's pretty but not so receptive?
George Bush with his normal left part
George Bush reversed - showing a right part...Strange no?
A long long time ago when I was just 19, I discovered the effects of changing my hair part from right to left. The strength of the change - in my case from a social misfit to "Joe Popular" was amazing, and not only that, when I looked around, it was happening to others.
The Hair Part Theory was the result of researching the effects and putting it into a more scientific framework and language. My sister Catherine Walter was instrumental in getting my vague handwaving theories into a great paper, including a slew of statistics to illustrate just how many leaders we have that are hair parters!
A few years after discovering the Hair Part Theory, I discovered, or more accurately re-discovered a true image mirror - and recognized myself at a deep level. The full story is elsewhere on this blog (link coming), but suffice to say that the True Mirror (the trade name of my perfect version), reflects your hair part the way it actually is, and you can see exactly what you are projecting...it matters!