FACES in PLACES : The "Pareidolia Effect"
It’s impossible to look at these seaside binoculars and NOT see a face. Our brains have evolved to detect faces in our environment – vital for survival purposes – even when our rational selves knows that what we are responding to is very unlikely to be alive. When we are presented with the minimum facial pattern of two spots above and one spot below, we not only see a face, we assume, as above, that the face is the expression of a sentient being which carries with it a corresponding emotional state; here, a sort of giddy happiness.
Eyes WIDE OPEN all the time : Pros + Cons
The origin of the Hyper-Alert Eye (the stylized character pose where the upper eyelid is continually raised) is ultimately based on the human face. Under certain circumstances when we are both happy and excited (look at the faces of major league athletes who have just made a game-winning hit), the smiling mouth is accompanied by eyes with lots of white above the iris, the result of super-abundant emotional and physical energy.
In my book, I classify this expression as the Eager Smile (top, left). Whatever name you give it, this particular pose has inspired thousands of cartoon versions, where artists have found the smile/wide eye pattern to be highly effective in creating character appeal. It has been a popular animator’s strategy for decades, with Bugs Bunny (top, center) and Mickey Mouse, the pioneers, and Woody (top, right), a more recent and very successful successor.
So many faces. So many ways to express emotions. Faigin examines facial expressions in movie stills, cartoons, fine art, illustrations and photographs and shares his insightful analyses in his monthly blog.