Pareidolia

Neuroscience is a very big deal right now. And I spend a lot of my workday plugged into podcasts like Radiolab and Stuff to Blow Your Mind. So although I really know nothing substantive about why my brain works the way it does, when I see faces in random objects, I understand enough to know that it isn’t magic. It’s just my brain.  All of our brains. This tricky phenomenon is called pareidolia. Basically, it means that our brains try to create familiar patterns in random or vague stimuli.  For humans, faces are one of the most common patterns out there, so we see faces in just about everything.

There are all manner of articles on this and no end of cute photos available on the internet.  This July 2014 BBC article  is informative and also contains some amusing pictures.

So, although your food may become menacing

photo of green peppers with screaming faces

…I also have this puppy encouraging me during my T’ai Chi class.

photo of knots in wood that look like a face

The folks in the paper lab have this friend in the photography room:

camera stand set up which looks like a face

And, like many folks, this alarmed looking individual has been looking after me since childhood.

Electrical outlet which looks like a face

 

Anyway, this is all  just an excuse to share some faces that have been showing up in my work at the lab. It seems like stapled text blocks tend to spawn these creatures.  They show up where old staples have torn the paper in the center of a signature.

I have been documenting these folks as I come across them and here are a few of the best:

Torn paper in the shape of a confused face.
What am I doing here?
paper tear that looks like someone speaking
Good morning! What’s the plan for the day?
Torn paper which looks like a yelling face.
No! Don’t use PVA on that mend!
Torn paper which looks like a smirking face.
*smug*
Torn paper which looks like a happy face.
Hooray! Another beautiful day in the Preservation Lab!
torn paper which looks like the face of a bear.
Claude the Preservation Bear.

Does anyone else have any such friends to share?

 

 

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