The University of Canterbury in New Zealand released a study last week saying there has been a concerning rise in the number of Lego people faces that look upset. Dr. Christoph Bartneck, a “robot expert,” has studied 6,000 of the little plastic faces and thinks Lego needs to take more responsibility for the way the expressions affect children.
Bartneck said in a press release, “We cannot help but wonder how the move from only positive faces to an increasing number of negative faces impacts on how children play.” While acknowledging that the expressions are realistic facial expressions, he said that pales in comparison to what negativity and conflict could mean to children.
“Instead of focusing on realistic expressions, it may be worthwhile to increase the variability of expressions,” Bartneck said. “A comic style expression is sufficient to convey a full spectrum of emotions and intensities.”
Bartneck is scheduled to present a paper on his full findings in August.