Emoticons in Mind: An Event-Related Potential Study
"It is now common practice, in digital communication, to use the character combination :-), known as an emoticon, to indicate a smiling face."
Pareidolia: Seeing Faces in Unusual Places
"To some observers, it looked like an ordinary grilled cheese sandwich."
Pareidolia on Reddit
"There is an universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves, and to transfer to every object, those qualities, with which they are familiarly acquainted, and of which they are intimately conscious."
Happy Days: Human Brain Now Registers Smiley Face Emoticon As Real Facial Expression
"Cultural use of emoticons has managed to reprogramme people's brains to respond as if were a real human face, new research found."