It’s the phenomenon of spotting familiar patterns in random data. You know … you come across a potato in the vegetable rack, and it looks like your auntie.
It seems that as humans we’re hardwired to recognise faces, and from an early age – babies have been proven to spend longer looking at patterns of dots and dashes which look like two eyes and a mouth than at similar, non-face-like patterns.
But let’s keep a check on our smugness here in this newfound knowledge of an inbuilt talent .. it seems that we might not be that special. In 2017, University of Cambridge researchers found that sheep – yes, sheep – can also recognise familiar human faces. They know this from training a number of sheep to identify the faces of actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Emma Watson, former US President Barack Obama and BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce.
Feeling special now? Or rather humble? Yes, me too. And I found some more words that rather seem to fit the bill:
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players” (William Shakespeare)