Fractals of the Week: The Pleasures of Pareidolia

G’day! One of my interests is the intersection of art and skepticism, in my case, the crossover point of fractals and skeptical subject matter, and there’s plenty of that!

In particular, there’s the popularity of fractal images in New Age spiritual art, and given the surreal beauty of many of the works, that’s understandable. There tend to be certain sorts of imagery that are especially evocative.

My own interest also extends to a phenomenon well-known to skeptics: pareidolia, a result of human pattern recognition, our ingrained bias for seeing faces and other familiar shapes in odd places; clouds, treebark, tortillas, pizza pans, and in the eldritch alien symmetries of fractal images, as with those I’m posting here.

These were all part of a project of mine from last week, The Search for the Face, using the exploration of a parameter set for Mandelbulber I’ve labelled JuliaBox 5, a Julia set variation of a Mandelbox figure.

The aim was to find, by exploring the correct region of the figure at sufficient depth to find an image that would quickly, with very little effort, elicit the appearance of a humanoid face at first glance.

The three images presented here are the closest I came upon to resembling faces. The first is a bit skullish looking, the second less so, and the third looks to me like a member of the Slitheen crime family from Doctor Who…

You be the judge!

Prima Facie
Prima Facie

All JPEG, PNG & GIF images in this post are original works by the author,created by

way of XaoS, Mandelbulber, Fractal Domains, Ultra Fractal , and Mandelbulb 3D and are copyright 2014 by Troy Loy.


3 thoughts on “Fractals of the Week: The Pleasures of Pareidolia

  1. abutcherswife

    I went to an interesting lecture about pareidoilia when my kids were younger. Interesting examples in your fractals. I have a friend who has face blindness, I wonder if she would even see faces at all, or if it is just the distinguishing features she can’t tell.


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