Seeing faces in inanimate objects

Huffington Post has a cool photo gallery of faces appearing in embedded objects. This tendency to see patterns, especially faces, is something we are particularly good at doing. It’s also the basis for this wonderful American Express advertisement:

Unfortunately, our pattern detection mechanisms can be overly zealous at times, leading us to see patterns that don’t actually exist. As we discuss in The Invisible Gorilla, the tendency to see patterns and meaning in what is actually noise contributes to beliefs in false causes and conspiracy theories. We tend to see in the noise the patterns we expect to see, and these patterns tend to confirm our expectations and beliefs. More importantly, as Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky, and others have shown, we tend to look for confirming evidence rather than disconfirming evidence. That leads us to accumulate anecdotes and examples that fit the pattern without taking into account the cases that disconfirm the pattern.

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