Shopping at LEGO or Amazon?
Please use our links: LEGO.comAmazon
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

'Too many angry faces', claims Kiwi


  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,715
    edited June 2013
    I like the range of faces we have now.

    I'm not impressed by those cricket fans though. Mixing yellow heads with flesh torsos. Urghh. They also don't look that angry. Two of them are smiling.
  • caperberrycaperberry LondonMember Posts: 2,226
    I think it's actually claiming there are too many angry faces now... which makes sense to balance out all those smiles in the early years! Kids gotta express their conflict in play...
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548
    edited June 2013
    Haven't they seen the state of the economy?

  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,866
    Well, on one hand, it IS a very valid subject for research. Toy companies do often walk a fine line between simply reflecting the world kids see around them and influencing how kids see the world around them. There are benefits to both: for instance, on one hand, LEGO City portrays the world as kids have been raised to expect, so fire stations and fire engines are red, every fire station has a big garage door, etc. But on the other hand, there are no guns in LEGO City, because even if kids understand the reality of gun violence, LEGO City is supposed to portray an idealized, non-threatening city where violent crime is non-existent and justice always prevails with no cost to human life.

    But on the other hand, I disagree with the argument that there are "too many angry faces". On the whole, there is a pretty fair balance in my opinion, and often characters will have multiple expressions, each of which can be interpreted multiple ways. A face with the corners of the mouth turned down can be sad, scared, or nervous. And even the minifigures with angry eyebrows often have it paired with a smirk or neutral facial expression, so they look more confident or determined than angry. The only minifigures who look decidedly angry are those that have both angry eyebrows and either a frown or bared teeth, and these hardly make up the majority of minifigure expressions.

    On another note, speaking as a person with Asperger's/autism spectrum disorder, there is definitely real benefit to exposing kids to a variety of facial expressions and mannerisms, as it teaches kids to understand other people's emotions and how they express them. There are even a number of people designing robots like Keepon with simplified, cartoony facial features to help kids with more severe autism learn to recognize facial and body language. Surely it doesn't help kids learn to empathize with the people around them if they're only ever exposed to positive or happy emotions in their play and storytelling.
  • NoizetankNoizetank Member Posts: 48
    This is the daftest thing I have read in a long while. Why complain about the angry faces? Just look at the toys available to kids now adays bratz dolls instantly come to mind as more disturbing dolls that look like hookers so how would that effect the way kids look at the world? Do these people have nothing better to do with their day
  • TheBigLegoskiTheBigLegoski Amsterdam, NederlandMember Posts: 1,418
    What a silly article.!
    He says he "painstakingly reviewed the facial expressions" of 6000 Lego faces, and continues: "While once overwhelmingly positive, today's tiny brick men and women are far more likely to carry an angry or fearful expression."
    I thoroughly disagree with this kiwi expert!

    There are five basic emotions: happiness, anger, fear, sadness, and disgust, and there is a sixth basic emotion (disputed by some psychologists), which is: surprise. Beyond these six basic emotions, printed on Lego minifig heads, there are many minifigs displaying a determined expression, or those who display an even composure. Seems to me the minifigs' emotional expressions, even though they are not evenly distributed (very few minifigs, or none at all, have a expression displaying disgust e.g.), are not dominated by the angry and fearful, as he suggests.

    Could it be this guy has eaten too many sour Actinidia chinensis!?
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,711
    Wow.. so you can actually get paid doing this 'research'... I got into the wrong industry.. I can take an educated guess with the best of them too.
  • JpegJpeg Member Posts: 22
    If you read the New Zealand article it's not so clear that he is "anti" angry faces, or that there are "too many". It sounds like a journalistic twist on what he actually said.
    BTW Cristof Bartnek (not sure if he is a NZ citizen or not but he is at a NZ university) has produced several books about Minifigs - they have been featured and reviewed on this website in the past and are still available for sale.
  • TheBigLegoskiTheBigLegoski Amsterdam, NederlandMember Posts: 1,418
    This still concise article is much more informative as well as better written, and sheds another light on the subject.

    "Dr Bartneck said the faces could be grouped into six main clusters: disdain, confidence, concern, fear, happiness and anger. Angry and happy expressions were the most common."

    Always funny how just by what is and what is not quoted, and paraphrased by some journalist, the gist of that which is reported can range from utterly distorting, merely suggestive to meticulously descriptive or anything in between, and shift in meaning to such an extend as to convey something completely different.

    I knew nothing of or about this Christof Bartnek, thank you for the additional info.
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548
    edited June 2013
    Goddamn that second-hand 'journalism' report was stupid, showed no knowledge of the subject, i.e. Lego, or appreciation of statistics.

    Early production had no faces at all - they couldn't do them.

    Later production due to advances meant they were able to produce a rudimentary face, the (now) classic smiley.

    Later still, and production facilities & technology advances to the point that more characterful faces can be made, and so we get some expressions.

    To quantify any of this into a statistically meaningful change is ludicrous. It's like saying the speed of cars is faster on the motorway.

    The very moment just one head had a different face than before 'statistically' created a 'not as many smiles than before' result. But it's a statistic that is moronic to quantify, given the fact that it is measured against a time of 'perma-smiles' due entirely to production methods and brand identity.

    To know something, is not the same as understanding its proper function. This person clearly 'knows' statistics.
  • chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711
    If there aren't any guns in Lego City, how are the police stopping all of the bank robbers (who, as any child knows, always wear a mask a hat and a striped shirt)?
  • LeonCLeonC United KingdomMember Posts: 364
    edited June 2013
    Well if you've ever seen a haka, you wouldn't be suprised that a kiwi was the expert on angry faces!
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409

    If there aren't any guns in Lego City, how are the police stopping all of the bank robbers (who, as any child knows, always wear a mask a hat and a striped shirt)?

    Because he yells "Stop!"

  • LegoMom1LegoMom1 Member Posts: 652

    @Jpeg - Thanks for the link to the original article. I found it very interesting and I don't think it reflects negatively in any way toward Lego. On the contrary, it shows that Lego plays a big and positive part in childhood, and also in helping kids negotiate the intricacies of some life skills.
  • luckyrussluckyruss UKMember Posts: 872
    This made its way on to Radio 4 in the UK this morning, they got Christoph on to interview him - whilst they started with the "angrier" backstory I thought it was a relatively good discussion (supportive of TLG in terms of the number of new minifigs they've released over the period since 2010, and Christoph made a great plug for his book!)
  • paul_mertonpaul_merton UKMember Posts: 2,963
    Here's the actual research paper (PDF):
    Agents With Faces - What Can We Learn From LEGO Minifigures?
  • bricksanbricksan Member Posts: 566
    I've just spoke about this on the BBC world service, its a shame the world media are picking up on this and then twisting it. As I explained I think have more facial expressions (not emotions) helps with the playability factor.

    Having a young daughter and with my wife working with children I see how kids related to different expressions depending on how they feel and also helps with role play in sets.
  • bricknationbricknation Member Posts: 703
    edited June 2013
    link to the interview on BBC Radio 4
  • skeet318skeet318 Banned Posts: 375
    I'd like to see an "O" face on a minifigure.... (come again?).
  • skeet318skeet318 Banned Posts: 375 Muslims saying Jabba's Palace looks like a mosque and should be banned.....really? the little bong is a non issue?
  • LostInTranslationLostInTranslation UKMember Posts: 5,558
    The "angry faces" story just got a mention on Mock the Week :-)
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,715
    And Andy Parsons looked pretty good.
  • LostInTranslationLostInTranslation UKMember Posts: 5,558
    edited June 2013
    ^ The Beano version is funnier though :-)
Sign In or Register to comment.

Shopping at or Amazon?

Please use our links: Amazon

Recent discussions Categories Privacy Policy

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons! is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, the, Inc. Associates Program and the Amazon EU Associates Programme, which are affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.