Why do mirrors reverse left and right?

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When a person wearing a T-shirt having something written on it stands before a mirror, the sentence will be shown reversed in the mirror. A person’s face and other body parts, however, remain as they are in the mirror. Our body is bilaterally symmetrical, and each half of the body is exactly a mirror image of the other. If a person is standing before a mirror, the right arm that is extended by him will be extended at the right side of the image. But in the view of the person,  the image is facing him and it appears as if it is the left side. When the person points his hand towards the mirror, it will appear to be pointing back at you in the mirror image. This indicates that the mirror does not reverse left and right. It reverses front and back.

The person looks at the mirror and considers the image in his visual perspective and not in the mirror’s perspective. If an object is seen in the mirror, mathematically the product of the vector that is facing the front and the vector of the top will result in giving a vector towards the right. All of these three vectors are perpendicular to one another. When any one of them has to be determined, the other two are taken and calculated. The direction of reflections can be understood in terms of the coordinate system.  The Z-axis of the mirror points toward the person while he faces the mirror. The X-axis of the person will be shown in the opposite direction from the perspective of the person but in the same direction in the perspective of the mirror.  This means that the right hand of the person will be reflected on the right-hand side of the mirror from the person’s view, but the mirror will reflect the image as the person’s left hand as he looks at himself in the mirror.

So the mirror is reflecting the image of the object in the same position where it exists. We see it as reversed because the image in the mirror is actually facing us, and our right must be the mirror image’s left. It is a theory of opposites in reverse. That is why the mirror reflects the image  and causes it to appear as reversing right and left.

Author: Hari M

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