- Your brain sees faces everywhere because of the pareidolia phenomenon.
- The Thatcher effect.
- 4 applications of these concepts in design.
- 3 conclusions.
For this Halloween (2022) NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has captured the Sun “smiling”. But, why are we seeing a face in the sun?
Your brain understands by association, it compiles some information like the shape of the eyes and mouth and concludes that it must be a face.
This phenomenon is known as pareidolia (pronounced para-dole-eia), and scientists have found that the brain appears to have an area (right fusiform gyrus) solely devoted to the task of recognizing faces. They say we develop that part of the brain because we need it to survive.
The human mind is wired to read information from people's faces. We recognize who they are, whether they're paying attention to us or whether they're upset or happy to see us or intend harm.
This evolutionary task is so primed in your brain that actually can trick your perception. For example, let's talk about the Thatcher effect.
Do you see everything normal in the flipped Adele’s picture at the left, and kind of creapy at the right?
Well, turn your phone/laptop upside-down and see what happens!
Yeap! both are the same image but flipped 🤯
This effect highlights a flaw in how our brains work and is based on the same principle that led us see the happy face in the sun and in everyday objects.
But in this case, we can't process an upside-down face because it's not something we usually encounter, we haven’t evolved enough to interpret them correctly.
So, how can you apply this knowledge in design?
Ever wonder why in watch advertisement the time is usually set at 10 past 10?
You guess! It’s because it seems to be like the watch is smiling at you.
In this study, researchers did a test setting tree different times: 11:30, 8:20 and 10:10. The participants, disproportionate like the 10 past 10 dial way more because it reminds them a smiley face.
We applied the same principle you saw above to redesign this school logo:
And to create this dairy brand:
You have also see it in famous logos like Pepsi, Amazon, among others.
We set some shapes of this Cheese packaging brand design to evoque a smiley face.
We also applied this concept in the product design of this Coca Cola Crate inspired by the polar bear.
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