Why It's Perfectly Normal to See Jesus in Toast - Yahoo News: The man in the moon. Jesus in toast. The Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich. Faces are everywhere — even when they're not, strictly speaking, supposed to be.
Now, new research reveals the brain processes that underlie these facial false alarms, a phenomenon called "face pareidolia." The findings suggest that expectations matter. When people expect to see a face, these expectations may activate a brain region responsible for processing faces.
The neural basis of this phenomenon is less understood.
The results of a study reveals that priming people to look for identifiable objects in random patterns is bound to create a few hits. The participants reported seeing faces 34 percent of the time and letters 38 percent of the time, despite there being none in the images they saw.