我们为何会对形似「脸」的非动物体产生错觉?

庚润,Neuroscientist

在生活中,你一定见过一些长着“脸”的非动物体。

你说你没见过?那就跟着我来看看下面这些图片吧!

这些长着“脸”的非动物体可能是一个切开的大辣椒,也可能是一个茄子,还可能是一个滚筒洗衣机。

仔细想想看,这些被认为是“脸”的物体都有一些共同的特征:两只眼睛和一张嘴。

那么,我们为何会对这些形似“脸”的非动物体产生“这是一张脸”错觉?人类是不是唯一具有这种“特异功能”的物种呢?

为了回答以上问题,来自美国和澳大利亚的认知神经科学家完成了一项有趣的研究。

他们给 5 只恒河猴呈现猴脸(刺激 1)、形似“脸”的物体(刺激 2)以及非“脸”物体(刺激 3)三种刺激。

其中,刺激 2 和刺激 3 本质上是同一种物体,比如一台“做鬼脸”的滚筒洗衣机和一台正常的滚筒洗衣机,因此从图片相似度的角度来说,刺激 2 和刺激 3 更加相似。

实验中,恒河猴首先盯着注视点,然后屏幕上会同时呈现出两种刺激(刺激 1 和刺激 2,刺激 2 和刺激 3,刺激 1 和刺激 3),猴子自由注视屏幕一段时间后,便会得到果汁奖励。

研究者们记录了猴子的眼动轨迹和视线停留时间。

 

研究结果表明,与人类一样,相对于非“脸”物体,猴子的视线会在猴脸上停留更长时间。

有意思的是,相对于猴脸,猴子的视线会在形似“脸”的非动物体停留更长时间,大概猴子对这些有趣的“脸”也很好奇吧。

通过分析猴子第一眼看的是哪张图片,研究者们得到了与猴子注视时间相同的结论。

 

接下来,研究者们分析了猴子的眼动轨迹,发现猴子在观看猴脸和形似“脸”的非动物体时,视线大多停留在图片中的“眼睛”和“嘴巴”的位置,而在观看其他物体时,视线则没有明显的倾向性。

“眼睛”和“嘴巴”正是面孔检测中最重要的特征。

以上研究结果表明,除了人类之外,恒河猴也具有感知形似“脸”的非动物体中面孔特征的能力。

这并不奇怪,因为恒河猴有着跟人类似的视觉信息加工网络。

另外,由于面孔检测在灵长类动物的社交中起着非常重要的作用,我们可能需要在面孔检测中容许一定“错误”的发生,从而保证自己的社交优势。

 

参考文献:

Taubert et al., Face Pareidolia in the Rhesus Monkey, Current Biology (2017)

 

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