If you see faces in random objects, you might be kind of neurotic. That's what one new study suggests. As reported on Brain Decoder, a researcher at the NNT Communication Science Laboratory in Tokyo gave 166 undergraduates two standard psychological tests that assess the "big five" personality traits and emotional mood. They then showed each of the participants the same pattern of random dots and asked them to report and draw whatever shapes they saw in the dots.
Those who scored higher for neuroticism on the psychological tests were more likely to see faces in the dots, as well as seeing plants and animals. Women were more likely than men to see objects where there were none.
This is an example of pareidolia, a psychological phenomenon that's a variety of apophenia, or perception of patterns in random data. We're especially attuned to do it with faces: Consider all those sightings of Jesus in toast.
Prone to seeing faces everywhere? You're really going to love (or loathe) this Twitter feed.
[h/t Brain Decoder]
Editor's note: This post has been updated.