From angry handbags to washing machines in distress, humans see faces in all sorts of inanimate objects – a peculiar phenomenon known as'face pareidolia'. Now, researchers in Maryland have found that these faces are more likely to perceived as young and male than old and female. The academics tested nearly 4,000 volunteers with photos to stimulate pareidolia, including images of an'alarmed' teapot, a'relaxed' potato and a'disgusted' green apple on a branch. Participants perceived illusory faces as having a specific emotional expression, age and gender, but they were mostly perceived as young and male by both men and women. Researchers weren't sure why this was, although it's possible humans are more prone to seeing men because we were more exposed to male faces during our earliest stages of development.
A short audio clip, containing a computerized voice saying a word, has become the latest trend on social media. After it emerged on Reddit three days ago, it quickly went viral on Twitter. The main debate among listener of the elusive clip is whether the voice says "Yanny" or "Laurel." Much like the gold and blue dress argument of 2015, this clip is taking the internet by a storm, with social media users furiously trying to prove what they hear is the only correct version of the word. Professor David Alais from the University of Sydney's school of psychology weighed in on the big debate, saying that hearing "Yanny" or "Laurel" depends on "perceptually ambiguous stimulus."
Have you ever seen the Virgin Mary in your grilled cheese? Seeing faces in inanimate objects is a common phenomenon. Now it seems that we're not alone in experiencing it – monkeys do too. Pareidolia is the scientific term for erroneously perceiving faces where none exist. To investigate whether pareidolia was a uniquely human experience, Jessica Taubert at the US National Institute of Mental Health in Maryland and her colleagues trained five rhesus macaques to stare at pairs of photos.
Pro-government forces in Syria launched an offensive Tuesday to retake a strategic hilltop village south of Aleppo from insurgents, including al-Qaida's local affiliate, as the government prepared for parliamentary elections set for Wednesday. Al-Manar TV, run by Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group, which is fighting alongside Syrian government forces, reported the offensive to retake the village of Tel al-Ais early Tuesday. Russia's Defense Ministry said the Mi-28N helicopter gunship crashed early Tuesday after completing its mission. In northern Syria, Turkish artillery shelled Islamic State targets in the Syrian town of Azaz from across the border after rockets fired from Syria struck a Turkish border town, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency.