Why People See Mary’s Face on Cheese Sandwiches

From Daniel Florien of Unreasonable Faith:

We’ve all experienced pareidolia—we see elephants in the clouds or Jesus on a marmite lid—but rational folks realize it’s just our brains grasping for patterns.
And then there are the religious people who think that sewer stains on a wall is Jesus revealing himself.
Why does this happen? David McRaney explains:

Carl Sagan was one of the first scientists to suggest the reason for seeing faces where they aren’t is a survival mechanism.
In an environment like a jungle or a forest, you need only a few details of the face to fill in the rest and see another human being. …
Recent advances in brain imagery have made it possible to explore why this happens.
When people see faces, it takes far less time (as in milliseconds) for the ventral fusiform cortex to register it recognizes something meaningful.
When people are shown objects which sort-of look like faces, that same part of the brain indicates recognition at almost the same speed.
It doesn’t take much to create a face either. It can sometimes just be a little punctuation. ; )

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