Do you have pareidolia? I know I do and I suspect quite a few of you reading this blog have it too! Pareidolia (pronounced pari-DOH-lee-a) is a psychological phenomenon that causes us to see patterns in a random stimulus, for example seeing a face in objects where there isn’t one. I have always seen a face on the front or back of a car. Once you start thinking of the headlights or brake lights as the eyes, maybe it will become easier to see what I mean .
As an aside, having this ability has led to a few problems when trying to buy a new family car in the past. My husband would do all the research beforehand and know the size of the engine, the fuel consumption and all the safety features before we went to look at cars. I however would look at the front and back of each car and, if I could see an angry or unhappy face, would declare the car as totally unacceptable!
As the human brain is wired to recognise faces, it will often interpret even a slight suggestion of facial features as a face. Research done over the years monitoring brain activity with MRI scans has added evidence to the theory that facial pareidolia emerged from an evolutionary need to recognise friends or foes from their faces. Sending text messages and e-mails have their uses but they cannot ever replace a face-to-face meeting in my opinion.
The English language is rich with expressions using the word “face”; we can describe people as “two faced”, we “face up” to our responsibilities or to the future, we put a” brave face on” in times of trouble and we can talk to someone until we’re “blue in the face” and get nowhere. I have lost count of the number of times I have had “egg on my face” and have tried to “save face” in many an embarrassing situation! Whenever I go out, I am aware I “put a face on” and show the world a version of myself. Perhaps we all need different faces for different places?
So, what about you? Are you showing your face today?
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