Are Modern Society's Woes Caused by Angrier Lego Men?

By Gary Cutlack on at

The once cheerful little Lego men are suffering from some sort of modern angst, with a survey of the facial expressions of the little plastic people finding they're angrier and snarlier than they were in the olden days. Are they turning our kids into raging monsters?

The data comes from Dr Christoph Bartneck, who works as a "robot expert" at New Zealand's University of Canterbury. His team had a whale of a time charting the facial expressions of Lego men produced between 1975 and 2010, finding that today's Lego, with its big-name licensed products, focuses more on themes of conflict than happy playing, resulting in kids being exposed to more "bad guys" with angry faces.

Bartneck said: "It is important to study how to create appropriate expressions and how these expressions are perceived by the users. Children's toys and how they are perceived can have a significant impact on children."

The inference being that children are now seeing many more angry, snarling, villainous faces when playing, which may stick with them and turn them into angrier youths. [Guardian]