People Who See Faces In Things Are More Likely To Be Neurotic

Your life is in shambles, but hey, at least that plug socket/car/door looks happy.
by Ellen Scott
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Oh, hey. Having a nice day? Feeling relaxed, chilled out, happy with your life? Well here's some new research to ruin that. Get ready to obsess over another thing you do, you big mess.

New research from the NNT Communication Science Laboratory in Tokyo indicates that people who experience pareidolia, which means seeing faces in inanimate objects—think worried electrical sockets, happy cars, uncertain doors—are more likely to be neurotic. Great.

Researchers gave their volunteers a sheet of paper covered in random dots, and asked them if they saw any shapes. If they did, they were asked what shapes they saw. People who scored higher in neuroticism were more likely to have seen faces in the dots.

Moheb Constandi, a neuroscientist and journalist, thinks that this correlation is down to evolution and survival behaviour. Neurotic people, who, as The Science of Us put it, are more "tense, nervous, and emotionally unstable," are on higher alert for threats to their safety, meaning they may notice danger and risk where it doesn't always exist. Sometimes, that danger can take the form of a face.

On the flipside, however, one of the researchers suggests that seeing faces everywhere could be indicative of creativity. So take that, all you non-pareidoliac (totally made up that word, but it works) people.

Are you now going to see faces EVERYWHERE you look? Yes. Are you going to worry that you might actually be insane? Yes. THANKS, science.

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan UK. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.

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