A famous example of pareidolia is the Face on Mars from the Viking 1 mission. Even NASA saw it, releasing an initial version of the image with this caption in 1976: “… huge rock formation … which resembles a human head … formed by shadows giving the illusion of eyes, nose and mouth.” Image: NASA

Why Do We See Faces That Aren’t Real?

Humans are strange. Seeing things that aren’t there, or that are merely suggested by shapes, is called pareidolia. Most often it’s faces we see, and science has come up with some good explanations for what’s going on.

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Independent journalist covering physical health & mental wellness, author of “Make Sleep Your Superpower: A Guide to Greater Health, Happiness & Productivity.”

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Robert Roy Britt

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Independent journalist covering physical health & mental wellness, author of “Make Sleep Your Superpower: A Guide to Greater Health, Happiness & Productivity.”