Visual Perception

Pareidolia: Seeing Faces In Random Places

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Have you ever looked at the front of a car and seen two eyes and a mouth in the headlights and grill? There isn't really a face there, but it's nothing to be worried about. This phenomenon is called pareidolia, which is a subsection of apophenia, and it happens because our brains are always on the lookout for patterns. Psychologist and neurologist Klaus Conrad defined apophenia as "an unmotivated seeing of connections, and specific feeling of abnormal meaningfulness."

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Seeing faces in things that have no faces is an example of apophenia. 00:10

  2. Apophenia is defined as "an unmotivated seeing of connections, and specific feeling of abnormal meaningfulness. 00:23

  3. Detecting faces, whether animal or human, help us and our ancestors assess potential threats. 01:17

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