Sunday, February 24, 2013

Big Picture Science for 02/25/13 - Skeptic Check: About Face

Image for Big Picture Science weekly radio show
Big Picture Science - Skeptic Check: About Face

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

  • Phil Plait – Astronomer, Skeptic, and author of Slate Magazine’s blog Bad Astronomy
  • Josef Parvisi – Associate professor, Stanford University, and clinical neurologist and epilepsy specialist at Stanford Medical Center
  • Nancy Kanwisher – Cognitive neuroscientist, at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT
  • Greg Borenstein – Artist, creative technologist who teaches at New York University
  • Pietro Perona – Professor of electrical engineering, computation and neural systems, California Institute of Technology


You can listen to this and other episodes at, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

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