Seeing Jesus in your toast makes you normal

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

If you see Jesus in your toast you are completely normal, research has found
If you see Jesus in your toast you are completely normal, research has found
Seeing Jesus in your toast does not make you mentally abnormal, as humans are wired to recognise features, a study by the University of Toronto and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has discovered.

Researchers found the phenomenon of face pareidolia – seeing images of Jesus, Virgin Mary or Elvis in objects such as toast, clouds or clothing – is normal and based on physical causes.

Previous examples include famous faces seen on a Kit Kat, banana, crisps and grapes. 

Lead researcher Professor Kang Lee said it was common for people to see non-existent features because human brains were “uniquely wired”​ to recognise faces.

“Most people think you have to be mentally abnormal to see these types of images, so individuals reporting this phenomenon are often ridiculed,”​ he said. “Even when there’s only a slight suggestion of facial features the brain automatically interprets it as a face.”

Researchers studied brain scans and behavioural responses to individuals seeing faces and letters in different patterns.

Anomaly or imagination

They discovered face pareidolia isn’t due to a brain anomaly or imagination, but is caused by the combined work of the frontal cortex which helps generate expectations and sends signals to the posterior visual cortex to enhance the interpretation stimuli from the outside world.

The report stated: “Our findings suggest that human face processing has a strong top-down component whereby sensory input with even the slightest suggestion of a face can result in the interpretation of a face.”

People are led to see different images depending on what they expect to see, which in turn activates specific parts of the brain that processes such images.

Instead of the phrase “seeing is believing”​ the results suggested “believing is seeing”​, Lee added.

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