There’s a Reason Why You Always See Faces in Everyday Things

This phenomenon actually has a name. And a lot of people experience it.

Have you ever been looking up at the sky and notice a shape in the clouds? Or do a double take of a tree because you can see a face in the bark? You’re not alone; a lot of people have the tendency to do that. This phenomenon actually has a name. It’s called pareidolia—and it causes people to see patterns such as faces and images in everyday objects. People with pareidolia give human characteristics to random things such as doorknobs or vegetables or a house. (You also probably have this phobia and don’t even know it.)

Can you see a face in this image of a red pepper? So can 68 percent of people.

01-red-pepper-Do-You-Always-See-Faces-in-Everyday-Objects-courtesy-Lenstorecourtesy Lenstore

Lenstore did a study to see which images people are more likely to see a face in. They reported that it has “been hypothesized that there is a fundamental evolutionary need to see faces.” They set out to discover how often that really happens. (These are 22 real phobias you never knew existed.)

This quiz tests you to see if you have pareidolia. After selecting whether or not you see a face in a particular picture, it tells you how many people agree with you.

A few things that Lenstore concluded was that you’re more likely to see faces in everyday objects if you’re a woman, extroverted, in a good mood, religious, or if you believe in ghosts. Who knew?

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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Assistant Digital Managing Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. When she’s not writing for rd.com or keeping the 650+ pieces of content our team produces every month organized, she likes watching HGTV, going on Target runs, and searching through Instagram to find new corgi accounts to follow.