Monday, October 01, 2007

Pareidolia: Faces in Trees

Astronomer Carl Sagan claimed that the human tendency to see faces in "things" is an evolutionary trait. Do you see the faces?

This tree face looks a bit tipsy to me.

This one looks like a creature from the movie "Alien".

This tree is totally sticking its tongue out!

Hey, this one looks like my hubby when he's mad.

Spooky face, just in time for Halloween.

Click the link for more on pareidolia - - or see my posts on the subject here and here


Todd and in Charge said...

cool stuff!

Ami said...

My son sees faces on vehicles. I first noticed this when he was seven and he yelled excitedly from the back seat, "Mom! Did you see that truck? It looked just like Rob Schneider!"

He's 20 now. Still sees faces in most vehicles. Is there a word for that?


Godwhacker said...

Dr. Deb,

You would be amazed at all the places I've seen faces. Now on to hearing voices.... :)

Casdok said...


Donna said...

How fun :)

Have a nice week!

Jade said...

No joke, yesterday, while walking near the rivers edge I saw a tree that looked like it was flexing its bicep. Should have taken a picture of it, it would have been perfect for this post!
Have a peaceful week Deb!

Ms.L said...

I love the spooooky Halloween tree. I have a few out in the back here and they thrill me to no end;)

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Todd,
I like fun neuropsychological stuff.

Dear Ami,
It's called Pareidolia!

Dear GW,
I see faces in many things too.

Dear Casdok,
Isn't it!

Dear Donna,
Psychology has many fun aspects.

Dear Jade,
How funny! Take a photo should you find it again!!!!!

Dear MS. L,
How great! Especailly at this time of year.


Id it is said...

Interesting pictures, and an even more interesting quote; can you elaborate somewhat on Sagan's comment?

Yes, the poem I posted is mine, and i'm glad you liked it.

Heidi said...

Luv this!

The Lone Beader said...

Excellent post, Dr. Deb. I love stuff like this.

Also, I'm curious as to what you think about the faces that I'm incorporating in my latest piece...

east village idiot said...

very interesting dr. deb! Do you take requests for posts? If so - i wanted to learn your opinion on subliminal messages - if they really work.

I recently purchased a cd to relieve stress. The first half hour the person explains (with music and water in the background) what the subliminal messages will be in the following half hour of music. I have to say - it works for me everytime. Is it just a placebo effect? I would love to hear your opinion on this topic!

Nancy said...

You always have fun and interesing posts. Thanks for sharing and keeping us on top of things.
You are a keeper

Grumpy Old Man said...

When I was in HS, our art teacher, known as "Dizz" Bensley, had a whole series of photographs he called "20th Century fetishes." They were things like parking meters that looked like faces.

I had never heard of this phenomenon as an innate mental tendency until a few days ago. Since then, I've heard about it twice.

When I learn a new word, I often notice it repeatedly.

What do you call that?

ellesu said...

That's funny!

As a child, I would lay on the ground in the summertime and see faces and things in the clouds.

LZ Blogger said...

That one you identified as an“alien” is actually pretty close... I believe it is a called a strangler vine from the Green Mountains of Australia that actually takes over a tree after years and years and basically kills the tree in the process after years of sucking the life out of it. Sounds like the plot to “ALIEN” doesn’t it? ~ jb///

PalmTreeChick said...

Those are really cool. You're hubby's hot!! ;)

PalmTreeChick said...

Looks like he (hubby) is barking up the wrong tree. Ha ha ha!

OHN said...

When I was a little girl we had a couple of doors in our house that freaked me out. The grain in the wood was just such that I always thought that it looked just like I imagined the devil would look. I refused to even go near it at night! :)

Scott said...

Hahahah! Those are cool. I love the drunken tree. Oh, and what would Freud say about my dirty mind? In the third one, I see the "mouth" as a butt and the "eyes" as flexed scapulae!

Oh yeah, and most everybody in my family on my mom's side has some level of synesthesia. I always thought that was normal, until we discused it and looked it up and saw that only about 4% of the population has that. Maybe it's like 1% of being really high all the time.

Scott said...

Whoa! That's freaky! Just a couple hours after I mentioned synethesia, that is the initial complaint of a patient of Dr. House! I love that show!

TK said...

Deb! So nice to see your name again. (Run into you now and then in Grumpy's comments, and smile every time.) I've lost my original steam for blogging, but I do check in on you from time to time. Hope you and the gang are well. Happy Fall!

xo Inger

jumpinginpuddles said...

yeh i see them and theres an update on my sis on the blog

Marj aka Thriver said...

I've been experiencing this even more than I usually do, since I've been lying around after cracking a rib with a bike crash. I wish I could turn it off sometimes, actually! :P

TK said...

I once had dining room chairs with backs that looked like the faces of howling ghosts!

Marie said...

I totally see the faces. Way to cool!

jane said...

I don't know why but this type of thing totally creeps me out. Like those trees in the Wizard of Oz that talk & throw apples, remember them?

Rising Rainbow said...

I have this freaky old 70s vinyl in my bathroom that has swirls in the patterns. I see faces in that thing. It's around my shower, so it really is freaky to be showering with an audience of wierd faces.

Daily Dose said...

I see faces like that all the time..even from shadows.

It is spooky sometimes. :)

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Id,
Your poem was beautiful. Sagan, as many do many scientists, believes that we are hard-wired genetically to "see" faces.

Dear Heidi,
I enjoy these too.

Dear Lone,
I will be over shortly to visit.

Dear EVI,
Good idea for a post. Subliminal messages *can* be very effective. Can, not always, being the operative word.

Dear Nancy,
As are you. Hope you are feeling better these days. I know how hard chronic pain is to live with.

Dear GOM,
I call it being a smart and aware man! The technical term is "heightened awareness".

Dear Ellesu,
I still do that!

Dear LZ,
How cool. Thanks for the info.

Dear Palmtree,
You are so funny!

Dear O?HN,
Oh yes, I can still remember seeing faces in the wood of the doors as well from my childhood room. S-C-A-R-Y.

Dear Scott,
Amorphous patterns trigger many different kinds of images. I can see what you mean in the other tree. And how esp-ish of you with the "House" episode.

Dear TK,
I was so happy to see you on a friends blog. I had to drop you a hello.

Dear JIP,
Will visit shortly.

Dear MArj,
Amazing the things we do as we recover from injury!

Dear tk,
REally? How cool.

Dear MArie,

Dear Jane,
The Wizard of Oz is a movie that still frightens me. I think I saw it at too young an age. The trees especially.

Dear RR,
Oh, that would creep me out too.

Dear DD,
I am very visual, so I can do the same!


Jadis said...

I see faces on blank walls. Is that normal?

Tai said...

Virgin Mary on a garage door and Jesus on toast.
Interesting stuff! The face on Mars was a fine example of this.

PalmTreeChick said...

Glad you appreciated my humor, DD.

Big Brother said...

Always wondered what the evolutionary imperative was to seeing faces where there are none... ;o)

kath said...


guess that explains the Blessed mother grilled cheese...


Nurse Practitioners Save Lives said...

Thanks really funny because I see faces in things all the time! Sorry I haven't been around in a while but now that school is finished, I will be popping in more often! I also have a second blog that I'm working on. You can reach it through my original one. See ya!