Pareidolia

28

audia5veyronA few posts ago I noted how people see faces and personalties in the front of cars.  This is a nice example of ‘pareidolia’ – the ascribing of meaning to vague and random stimuli.  Yesterday, Phil sent me this great site full of illusionary faces….

People see faces in the strangest of things, including drink cans….

sledyat_06

ovens……

sledyat_08

and even random cloud formations…

scanning-cloud-facel

For more wonderful example explore ‘Faces Everywhere‘ on Yeeeeeee.

Do you tend to see faces where there are none?  What do you think that says about you?

28 comments on “Pareidolia

  1. I have a hard time seeing the face in the can its a stretch for me to see it. is there something wrong with me?

  2. Mark says:

    That cloud face is very convincing. If you hadn’t said it was real, I would have in no way believed it, and I’m still having doubts.

    As for the oven and the can, I totally see faces there too.

  3. [...] Wiseman has just blogged on how some people see faces in inanimate objects.  Check out the blog here, but first, what about this. Make my [...]

  4. Tim Jones says:

    Any reasonable person would first assume the cloud face is a fake. Strange you put it up.

  5. dml says:

    Where did the cloud face come from? Not the website you linked to. I have a hard time believing that photo is not faked.

  6. Matthew says:

    Scott McCloud talks about this in Understanding Comics.

  7. I can’t believe that cloud is legit. If it is, it looks like (from the angle of light) that it’s been rotated 90 degrees, but even so.

    (I saw the faces in the others instantly.)

  8. The cloud face is funny – why no humor tag? :-)

    The coke can I can see the face right away, but not on the car.

  9. Wai says:

    Well, i guess what this means is that we are pretty imaginative in our thinks.

    and that is maybe why we have such wonderful and crazy ideas once in a while…

  10. dodofuglen says:

    I distinctly see a cloud in that face. The wonders of Photoshop …

  11. Lenard says:

    I think I can go one further…the cloud face is David Dimbleby

    (for non-UK viewers who might not now who this is, you can see a pic of him here – http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1367/540620770_01c29c993c.jpg)

  12. Lafayette says:

    Hmm… is the reaction to the cloud picture a pyschometric test? Seems to be working as one!

  13. Tim Jones says:

    Lafayette – the BLOG is a pyschometric test!

  14. Rob says:

    Seeing faces in inanimate objests comes quite naturally to us as a species. I would assume its because faces are the first thing we see after birth and so the shape is very familiar to us.
    I wonder how we could test that…?
    Would a baby who never saw a human face other than his own be able to see faces in objects?

  15. Lafayette says:

    Shush, Tim Jones, I am paranoid enough as it is! I signed up as a prospective guinea pig for the Goldsmith’s Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit. I hear nothing back from them at all, and then four weeks later I’m standing next to someone who is going aggressively crazy in a fast food restaurant, wondering “is this a test?”

  16. Alison says:

    More impressed by how that oven looks just like ours, only more clean!

  17. EmilyT says:

    Have to say I’m convinced that the cloud is a fake!

    My housemate commented on this topic a while back when he came into the labs where I work and saw an analogue AVO meter. He said he’d been to the science museum and seen one in an exhibit on the subject, I believe the following is a photo from the exhibit: http://www.idiottoys.com/pics2/the-avometer-8-1.jpg

  18. Lux says:

    Surely the cloud is a fake, it too perfect. Eyes deep set in, the nose, lips, ears exactly where they should be, in fact….is that Richard Dreyfuss?

  19. Diana Issidorides says:

    As far as the cloud is concerned: “long live photoshop”!

  20. brucehood says:

    By coincidence I just blogged a similar item on religious pareidolia but I think that you have treated it much more sensitively than I – !!!
    Bruce

    http://brucemhood.wordpress.com/2009/02/28/god-is-in-your-brain/

  21. Chris says:

    I also think the cloud is fake it to real looking (by that I mean the face is to real looking, to perfect) saying that i do think it is possible to see faces in real clouds. as for the can and oven yeah I see the face.

  22. primevilkneivel says:

    I’ve owned a couple of Nokia cell phones and I was always amused when I removed the faceplates as there was a simple smiley face built into the main structure of the phone.

    The first one was cute, the second one lead me to believe there is an amusing engineer at work in the Nokia labs.

  23. People of imagination to create things, you may not be the first time to identify what that meant. It’s very interesting.

  24. anne sheppard says:

    that is soooooo FAKE not 1 commwnt saying otherwise cant all be wrong

  25. Fig Newton says:

    Great site with many “face” pictures and expressions to go along with themhttp://icanhascheezburger.com/tag/happy-chair-is-happy/

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