Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help   RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Why do we see faces where none exist ?


Posted on Saturday, 10 May, 2014 | Comment icon 29 comments

The face on Mars as photographed by NASA's Viking orbiters. Image Credit: NASA
Pareidolia is a phenomenon that can make us see faces and other meaningful shapes in abstract patterns.
The human brain possesses a remarkable ability, one that we might not be consciously aware of but that can nonetheless shape our perceptions on a daily basis. The capacity to see faces and other forms in random patterns may seem to be an unlikely affliction, yet a tendency to see meaningful shapes where none exist is a feature of the brain that affects us all.

The infamous 'Face on Mars' is a popular example, a rock formation photographed over the planet's Cydonia region that was long thought by some to be the carefully constructed visage of a human-like face. Incidents in which religious figures such as Jesus or the Virgin Mary are seen in the dirt of a window, the stains on the walls of an underpass or even the burn marks on a piece of toast are also common examples of this phenomenon.

In a recent study, researchers conducted an experiment in which a number of participants were shown a series of images, some containing obvious faces and other containing random static. The results indicated that people are more likely to see faces where none exist if they are expecting to see something - such as if they are told by someone else that there is a face there.

The researchers also discovered that the same region of the brain responsible for face recognition is activated when someone believes they have seen a face in an abstract pattern, whether or not a face actually exists there.

Source: Live Science | Comments (29)

Tags: Pareidolia


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #20 Posted by paperdyer on 12 May, 2014, 15:41
I used to play a game with the clouds and see what I could think they looked like. Other than for amusement, doing so is no use at all.
Comment icon #21 Posted by calaf on 14 May, 2014, 22:26
Very good, But can anyone explain why there are mouse footprints in my butter? They prefer oleo.
Comment icon #22 Posted by JesseCuster on 15 May, 2014, 11:52
I see faces all the time but I smoke kush for breakfast so it kinda goes with the territory I quit smoking weed, but back in the day, I'd see faces in everything when stoned.
Comment icon #23 Posted by JesseCuster on 15 May, 2014, 11:54
so ? uh i also see faces , but i don't think someone can explain what i see ! ''faces of the dead '' it has nothing to do with pareidolia . or any religion . But it does explain the amount of people who think they've found faces on Mars, ghosts in camera sensor noise, ghosts in blurry reflections in photos, etc. I can be an important factor to take into account depending on the situation that people see faces in.
Comment icon #24 Posted by Ryu on 15 May, 2014, 12:17
I guess it depends on what you are indoctrinated with or what you happen to be absorbed in that affects what images your mind tries to see in meaningless visual gibberish. If one was a Buddhist then they'd see images related to that or if one was enamored with Warcraft they may see images that resemble whatever is in Warcraft. Also I read that the human brain is adapted to recognize faces to the point that one will often think there are "faces" in random patterns as long as part of the patterns are somewhat in proportion to a face be it human or animal.
Comment icon #25 Posted by lightly on 16 May, 2014, 10:59
it's fun to put jelly on his nose
Comment icon #26 Posted by nisi on 19 May, 2014, 8:57
I read article and conclude toast is as trustworthy as a stray dog's appetite.
Comment icon #27 Posted by nisi on 19 May, 2014, 14:34
HAHA WOOF WOOF? How long you want coju?; All day, everyday....
Comment icon #28 Posted by nisi on 19 May, 2014, 14:46
Sorry! CUJO*
Comment icon #29 Posted by TheGreatBeliever on 1 June, 2014, 15:53
think its the same for ghosts.


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


  On the forums
Forum posts:
Forum topics:
Members:

5859824
264692
165181

 
Microbial life can survive on Mars after all
1-23-2017
A new study has added weight to the idea that microbes can survive in the harsh conditions on Mars.
Fossils of giant otter unearthed in China
1-23-2017
Paleontologists have revealed the discovery of a prehistoric otter that was around the size of a wolf.
Mystery surrounds felling of 200 beech trees
1-23-2017
Authorities in Wales are attempting to work out who chopped down hundreds of beech trees near Caerphilly.
New clue emerges in DB Cooper hijacking case
1-22-2017
An independent investigation in to the long-running mystery has managed to dig up an important new clue.
Featured book
 
By Toryn Chapman
Campbell Mackenzie is a successful lawyer with occasional feelings of déjà vu. There's just one problem, though - it's not déjà vu.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
Snapping steel in slow-motion
Posted 1-23-2017 | 1 comment
The Slo Mo Guys film a steel beam being snapped and replay it in extreme slow motion.
 
Coconut octopus vs crab
Posted 1-22-2017 | 1 comment
A coconut octopus lies in wait for an unsuspecting meal in this Smithsonian Channel clip.
 
What would happen if you fell 365 meters ?
Posted 1-21-2017 | 2 comments
A look at what would happen if you were unfortunate enough to fall from a great height.
 
A colorful 'landing' on Pluto
Posted 1-20-2017 | 0 comments
This NASA movie explores would it might be like to land on the dwarf planet Pluto.
 
The future of warfare
Posted 1-19-2017 | 5 comments
Drone armies and laser cannons may become increasingly common in the near future.
 
 View: More videos
Stories & Experiences
Phantom vehicle
1-6-2017 | Ramer, United States
 
True ghost stories
1-6-2017 | Southern California
 
Floating tiles
1-6-2017 | Chewelah, Washington
 
A haunting in Northern California
12-28-2016 | Northern California
 
Strange creature in South Africa
12-28-2016 | South Africa, Hoedspruit.
 
A 15-year-old predicted my future!
12-21-2016 | Katherine, Australia
 
The haunted pond
12-21-2016 | Essex, Ontario, Canada
 
The haunted hospital
12-28-2016 | New Plymouth, New Zealand
 
Loud crash in the night
12-17-2016 | Pennsylvania
 
Mysterious woman in a blue dress
12-17-2016 | Northern Ireland
 

         More stories | Send us your story
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.7 Unexplained-Mysteries.com © 2001-2017
Privacy Policy and Disclaimer   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ