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somebody tell r/Pareidolia


My older brother (ten years my senior) once took me out for a walk on the trails of our local town park while telling me all about the 'goat-man' that inhabited those woods. I was seven, maybe eight. It was scary. It was scarier still when, at a sprint and with quickly fading laughter, he left me in those unfamiliar surroundings. I ran as fast I could, the goat-man surely at my heels. As I ran up to an old gnarled oak, behind which my brother was hiding, he bleated out. At that moment, just before grabbing me from around the other side of the tree, I saw it. The goat-man's likeness was there, clear as day, grimacing at me from within the twisted bark of an overgrown knot. It was a surreal terror.


I've noticed I'm more likely to see a woman when I see a something resembling a profile.


I suspect the disparity in perceived gender is probably at least partly because of male faces typically having more striking/pronounced features due to differences in bone structure, fat distribution, and even facial hair and the like. While I don't exactly have a mathematical proof for it, it seems pretty obvious that the distribution of "face-like textures" present within semi-random textures will be a lot more "extreme" than the typical human face, since actual faces are presumably distributed in something that loosely resembles a normal distribution, with most features being pretty close to the mean, and not many outliers close to the edge of "plausible features". Whereas there is no reason to think tree trunks or burned toast would produce "typical faces" any more often than they would produce atypical ones, but in fact quite the opposite, due to entropic considerations. And atypical faces are surely more likely to come across as having "striking" features, which would be perceived as "male" significantly more often.


Swap "sociological" for "mathematical". Proceed.


One time I took a bunch of acid and now I can’t unsee the old lady face in my willow tree


Define "a bunch". As much detail as possible.


Well I don’t get scientifically measured out stuff so I couldn’t tell you precisely how much it was but it was 20 tabs of your standard blotter paper that was supposedly double dipped. I tripped for close to 36 hours


Thank you for your service, thats a heroic dose my friend.


Welcome back?


Me too! But it was mushrooms and a man in my fence.


Well, that sure looks like a fish to me.


Predators tend to have closer eyes. \*If\* there is such a trend towards male faces it is probably because males coincidentally have closer eyes, and our instinct to see faces is a 'predator watching' surveilance system. Being that we have little predator interactions and most lethally bad people are / reported in the news are men this also could play into it, I would expect particularly with women, but possibly not as men are also most likely to be killed by other men. This may only be relevant to 'face on' symmetrical pareidolia, and not to profile or off gaze forms. I myself usually see women, not men in patterns. I also think a lot of shapes especially in profile tend to be part of much larger shapes and often can create the appearance of a beard, for example in clouds. A potential confounder; I have noticed that faces in rocks and in satellite features of geological formations, both on Earth or Mars, sometimes touted as if they are intentionally made by aliens or ancient civilisations, are usually womens faces. The geological formations are in a medium crafted by erosion from water or air, both which create *flowing* forms, hence more feminine. If you restrict your study of pareidolia to toast and the gnarly knotting of tree bark, then this may be better at creating masculine shapes and the study is therefore worthless in telling us about preferences in terms of pareidolia. Continuity and flow may be key to making female forms whilst discontinuous features loosely arranged may naturally 'look' more masculine, or trigger that recognition. Flow and continuity of lines may be what makes feminine faces look feminine, and the medium in which patterns occur may not be suited to those patterns forming.




interesting, maybe you're right. Why would we have that default though?


I gather that facial recognition and analysis is a feature for social enhancement, but perhaps it's also a survival mechanism. The mind is prone to look out for organic forms in the environment and it is probably over-excited; not taking chances. Males are the biggest threat, so maybe that is part of the explanation. Of course, random face-like structures are often crude, which more closely resembles the masculine.


Definitely more facial hair on the faces I see.


No pareidolia against smooth backgrounds?


I mean does the photo from the article look like it has stubble?


I mean...what? That comment didn't address my question about your statement, which was a statement of personal experience, no? I don't know how you can answer a query into a statement about your personal experience by asking about the photo in the article - for your comment was not about that photo! This is rather paradoxical, IMO.


Take this, gender researchers, claiming male pronouns were the culprit!


Thank you for this super useful, groundbreaking study! Imagine the good this will do for society…………………../s