Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Faces: Pareidolia

The neuropsychological phenomenon by which the brain interprets vague images as specific ones is called Pareidolia. A good example of this is when you see faces or animals in clouds. You can pretty much "see" familiar objects in almost anything.

The tendency for us to see faces in other objects has its origin in our neural architecture. It could be said that though many of us use our eyes to view the world, we really see by using our brain.

Here are a collection of happy faces. Do you see them all? Do you "feel" happy looking at them?


Swataz said...

This freaks me out a little. :)

Did you see the smiley face disguised as a colon and a close parens? Heheh.

Dr. Deb said...

I did, Nick, I did. I like these little happy faces. It's when I find weird, scary faces in objects that freak me out.

Dr Vin Family Doctor Australia said...

Hi Deb,

Very interesting article. What you highlighted about the fact that we see with our brain rather than our eyes has reminded of one particular time when I used it to challenge the belief of a young girl with an eating disorder.

In her mind, she was adamant that she looked fat and despite what other people told her to the contrary, she did not believe them.

Now if she believed that we see with our eyes, then what she saw in the mirror, others would have seen the same.

It was only when I had successfully convinced her of the belief that we actually see with our brain, she was then able to have a glimpse of insight into her condition.

Dr Vin
Family Doctor MBBS FRACGP Australia

Xmichra said...

awe :) I'm with you Deb, when they are cute and nice (like the happy faces) then I'm good with it. It's when you see bad or freaky things that I close my eyes and count to ten ;)

Rose said...

It's amazing what you can see in things. The stuff I see in clouds are something else too.

Karen said...

Hi, I just found your blog. I have been diagnosed with depression and an anxiety disorder. I don't see faces very often, but I always see hearts everywhere. I wonder what that means.

Sarebear said...

LOVE these! 8^D

ellesu said...

I remember when I was growing up and we would lay on our backs on the lawn, look up at the clouds and make pictures out of them. That, of course, was "back in the day" - before cable tv and video games. :)

I do like the happy faces.

kenju said...

Such cute examples!!