Hey, that looks like a face!
December 5, 2009 6:30 PM   Subscribe

Is there a word for the phenomenon of finding faces in abstract shapes or patterns? (more inside)

I don't mean religious icons in doors or sandwiches specifically, I mean the phenomenon in general of tending to always notice faces in patterns such as marble floors, etc.
posted by Kensational to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:31 PM on December 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Pareidolia seems to be the word.
There was a FPP about Faces on Places not too long ago.
There was also another FPP about how schizophrenic brains can't see "the Hollow Mask Illusion."
posted by at the crossroads at 7:08 PM on December 5, 2009

Apophenia is another word for this— AIUI it refers to the more general tendency to see patterns or structure where there is none, not necessarily faces or familiar sounds.
posted by hattifattener at 11:04 PM on December 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

You might research the word simulacrum (pl. simulacra). I can't remember exactly what it means and will leave the looking up to you.
posted by neuron at 9:13 PM on December 6, 2009

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