Do you see a face in this building? If so, you are experiencing a phenomenon known as pareidolia - the name given to the fairly common ability to see faces in inanimate objects.
The phenomenon occurs as a result of the brain's right fusiform face area - the area which processes faces - activating when people see a face pattern in something else. It was perhaps most famously exploited by psychologist Hermann Rorsarch for his inkblot test used to explore a patient's mental state or examine personality traits.
Whether or not you have this ability can be influenced by your personality, sex, and emotional state according to new research presented at the 19th annual meeting of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness in Paris earlier this month, reports Brain Decoder.
In the new study at the NNT Communication Science Laboratory in Tokyo, researchers found correlations between a subject's personality traits and emotional mood and their ability to determine faces and other objects in a pattern of random dots.
They found that those who were less emotionally stable were more likely to experience pareidolia, as were those in a more positive mood. Overall, women were more likely than men to experience the phenomenon.
Want to test your pareidolia? Here are some examples from the popular Faces in Things twitter account:
A suspicious neighborhood pic.twitter.com/EA87kYBNpe— Faces in Things (@FacesPics) April 18, 2015
Old lady bag pic.twitter.com/dZS3X2fobX— Faces in Things (@FacesPics) July 3, 2015
Let me out, these kids are crazy! pic.twitter.com/ex4ZGk1A5C— Faces in Things (@FacesPics) June 24, 2015
This unimpressed sloth watches while you drive pic.twitter.com/RDX08zpzXF— Faces in Things (@FacesPics) July 4, 2015
I SAID SLOW DOWN pic.twitter.com/IARjBnwND3— Faces in Things (@FacesPics) July 16, 2015
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