UnNews:Toast seen in face of Jesus

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9 April 2021


TORONTO – Most of us have seen the face of Ronald Mc Donald in the randomly distributed rocks of the Martian surface, the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich or the Mona Lisa in yo' Mama’s pubic hair. Faces are everywhere thanks to millions of years of evolution wiring our brains to spot them. Now, scientists at the University of Toronto have shown that this Pareidolia effect works two ways.

Researchers recruited dozens of 18 year old undergraduates and asked them to look at images of faces while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. The fMRI machine measures changes in the magnetic properties of Oxygen-rich and Oxygen-depleted blood, enabling researchers to tell which areas of the brain are getting an influx of blood flow.

The researchers first asked the men to look at a series of faces which had been obscured with static-y visual noise. The images contained concealed images of Pot Noodles and Pickled Onion Monster Munch, some easy to discern and others camouflaged. Other images showed Chicken Dippers and Donner Kebabs, again with some easy to see and others difficult to spot. The final image was pure black-and-white, splotchy noise. The men were asked to push one handheld button if they felt hungry and another if they did not. After this initial test, the men saw another series of faces. This time, however, all of the hidden images were secretly salad vegetables. The men were again asked to press a button to indicate whether they felt hungry.

Priming young men to look for food in random patterns is bound to create a few hits and the participants reported feeling hungry 34 percent of the time, even when viewing the black-and-white, splotchy noise. However, with the faces containing cucumbers and carrot-sticks, fewer than 2% of the men reported feelings of hunger. Interestingly, 28% of men saw naked outlines of Demi Lovato, Emma Stone, or Selena Gomez even on the blank screens that preceded the test; while 8% reported seeing the buttocks of Robert Pattinson.

When the tests were repeated with another set of male students who had first consumed six pints of Stella Artois, 100% of students felt the stirrings of hunger when exposed to faces containing kebabs, 68% saw the contents of their own stomachs after redistributing them inside the fMRI machine and up to a third claimed “You’re my best friend. You’re, like, my brother from another mother.”