13 July 2011

Automotive pareidolia

Both photos from the very interesting Just a Car Guyblog.

Addendum:  Skipweasel found this one at GrandPrix63:


  1. I heard somewhere that we use the facial recognition part of our brains to recognize cars. I didn't read the article, but here's a link about it.

  2. Interesting article Blithertypoop. What it says, however, isn't really that all of us use that part of the brain to recognize cars specifically, but rather that what we call the "facial recognition" part of the brain is more of a processor we use to recognize holistically objects we're very familiar with (e.g. cars for car experts, or birds for bird watchers).

    In the case of cars though, I don't think the resemblance to a face is purely accidental. Especially in newer ones, where materials and production processes allow designers to take more liberties. What better way to make a car like the Veritas up there look mean and agressive than to give it frowning "eyebrows" and a devilish smile? ;)

  3. A bit too cartoonish (the modern one) for my liking. There are far to many rude and aggressive looking suvs on the road these days, such as Grand Cherokees. Rude looking cars, rude drivers. Rude, rude and more rude.

    Speaking of this pareidolia, how about cedar and fir trees? One can make out the most fantastic faces in their branches...

  4. Seban678, I couldn't find anything that presented the idea as I'd heard it before, so that was close enough after skimming.

    I forgot to mention the goofy, and almost unquestionably intentional, smile on the newer Mazda 3. I burst out laughing the first time I saw one on the road.

  5. This one...
    looks almost deliberate!

  6. Great post. I fell down this rabbit hole. Check out this fascinating example of pareidolia. http://improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume6/v6i6/okamura-6-6.html

  7. Thanks, Skip. I added that one to the post.


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