There May Be a Psychological Reason Why You See Faces In Random Objects

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Do you ever see a face in random objects? You know, the fire hydrant has drills that look like eyes, nose, and a mouth? Or the rain drops on the window make a smiling lad looking back at you? You might think you’re pretty creative being able to see a face within these items—however, science actually says you might be slightly neurotic.

Okay, we kid. Take that with a grain of salt! But there IS some recent science out that suggests this personality trait for people who can see faces in random objects.

The study was done by a researcher at the NNT Communication Science Laboratory in Tokyo, who had 166 undergraduates complete two tests that measure people’s personality traits and emotional mood during the time of the test. Each participant was then shown the same pattern of random dots and was asked to draw the shapes that they saw them in.

It turns out that those who were more likely to find faces in the dots scored higher for neuroticism on the tests.

Whaaaat? Crazy right? Additionally, women were more likely to see objects where there were none than men were. So there must be a lot of neurotic females in this world! Another thought is that women are more in touch with emotions and are better able to decipher facial expressions.

The phenomenon of being able to see faces in things is an example of “pareidolia,” which causes people to see random patterns in certain things. This could even lead to people assigning human characteristics to various objects they see these faces. See what they mean? Neurotic!

One hypothesis on why this connection might make sense? These people may be on a higher alert for danger, thus they are more likely to see things that aren’t real. Additionally, it is often believed that people who are more religious may be more likely to experience pareidolia.

“A classic example is the Stone Age guy standing there, scratching his beard, wondering whether that rustling in the bushes really is a sabre-toothed tiger,” says Christopher French, of the British Psychological Society. “You’re much more likely to survive if you assume it’s a sabre-toothed tiger and get the hell out of there – otherwise you may end up as lunch.”

Do you notice that you see faces in objects a lot? Do you believe that this makes people neurotic? What do you make of the study?