Seeing faces in unusual places is a psychological phenomenon called pareidolia (par-i-DOH-lee-a). It occurs because our brains are constantly looking for patterns in order to categorize things and make sense of the world. Sometimes our brains see faces in the wrong places, which is heaps of fun. Try giving it a go right now and see how many faces you can see in the room around you.
I am in my room at home as I am writing this and I can see a mirror, a door, a wardrobe and all the usual things one has in their room (including a pair of dirty socks and a cup that looks like something suspicious has started to grow…). However, if glance at the outlet in my wall I notice something...it's looking back at me with a seemingly surprised expression! Upon closer inspection, the mold in this cup looks a bit like one of my old teachers—big bushy beard and all. Hang on a moment, my chest of drawers does seem to have a sort-of grin. How many faces can you see?
You can see faces in all sorts of places. Have you ever played the game of seeing shapes in the clouds? It's a fun and free activity that everyone can enjoy, challenge your friends to see if they can see the dragon you are pointing to or the giant cat chasing the snail. I bet you can come up with some interesting stories!
Science World's Puzzles and Illusions Gallery is designed to muddle your brain and get you to think a little differently. Over the next few months, Puzzles and Illusions will be undergoing some big changes! You can expect some new and curious exhibits that are sure to inspire and confuse.