Study of face pareidolia reveals gender bias in the way we see faces in everyday objects

30 January 2022

Dr Jess Taubert from UQ's School of Psychology spoke with ABC RN Breakfast about research revealing people more commonly visualise a young male face when seeing faces in objects. 

"What we've concluded is that the minimal information that we need to detect a face is not sufficient to see that face as female," Dr Taubert said. 

What that means is that when there's just enough visual information to see a face - say, two holes for eyes and one for a mouth - most people perceive that face as male. 

Exactly why that is, Dr Taubert said they're not sure. 

"All we know, at this point is that we have these kinds of cognitive biases that underlie the things that we see," Dr Taubert said. 

"It'll be a little while before we understand exactly why the male bias is so predominant in this case- but it is definitely there." 

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