Big Picture Science – Skeptic Check: About Face

by Gary Niederhoff on February 25, 2013

Face it – humans are pattern-seeking animals. We identify eyes, nose and mouth where there are none. Martian rock takes on a visage and the silhouette of Elvis appears in our burrito. Discover the roots of our face-tracking tendency – pareidolia – and why it sometimes leads us astray.

Plus, why some brains can’t recognize faces at all … how computer programs exhibit their own pareidolia … and why it’s so difficult to replicate human vision in a machine.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Phil Plait on Pareidolia
Part 2: Josef Parvizi on how the brain maps faces
Part 3: Nancy Kanwisher on why the brain sees faces
Part 4: Greg Borenstein on face tracking software
Part 5: Pietro Perona on Machine Vision

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