Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I'm seeing faces

I keep thinking I see people I know when I'm out and about these days, which isn't likely since I don't know anyone around here.

I think I see people I used to know in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. And I'm always very briefly glad to see whoever I think it is, even if it's someone I don't particularly care for.

This is odd. Especially since I've been known to do a U-turn in a grocery aisle in order to avoid running into someone I know.

Not that I'm unfriendly, I just hate the inane chit-chat one must engage in during such situations. Especially when you're not at your best, in a hurry, or simply content to be alone with your own thoughts.

So why am I so glad when I think I see a familiar face these days? This false recognition is very brief, but also very enjoyable. Is this evidence of some sort of need to see familiar faces? Is my brain seeking them out?

Since I've been taking photos of found abstracts the last few years I've found a lot of faces, too. And I've recently learned this phenomenon of finding faces, or familiar shapes, is called pareidolia.

Examples of pareidolia include seeing images in clouds, the man in the moon, the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich, or even this happy guy who I call Mr. Slice. He came out of the loaf like this!


Anonymous said...

I too experience pareidolia! I remember doing this from a very young age, usually seeing faces in the swirl of wooden doors. Now it's everywhere. I think it has a lot to do with having an eye for symmetry and the lack of it. I mean really, don't you see faces when you look at houses, or cars, or trees?

Betsy said...

There is a clever ad (maybe American Express?) that uses objects both frowning and smiling. I like the ad even though I'm not sure what's it's for.