Researchers Warn Frequency of Angry Faces on Lego Minifigures is Increasing

Posted on June 16, 2013

Lego Hulk Minifigure


The number of angry faces on Lego minifigures is on the rise say researchers from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. You would expect the Hulk minifigure to have an angry face, but researchers warn angry Lego faces are increasing overall. University of Canterbury robot expert Dr. Christoph Bartneck studied 6,000 Lego minifigures and he says the number of happy faces on Lego minifigures is decreasing and the number of angry faces is increasing.

Dr. Bartneck (pictured below) says, "The number of new faces that the LEGO company introduces every year is increasing steadily. LEGO started producing a greater variety of faces in the 1990s. Happiness and anger seem to be the most frequent emotional expressions."

Dr Christoph Bartneck Lego study


Bartneck also says, "Most mini-figures are released in sets that belong to a certain theme, such as Pirates or Harry Potter. It is our impression that the themes have been increasingly based on conflicts. Often a good force is struggling with a bad one. But the facial expressions are not directly matched to good and evil. Even the good characters suffer in their struggle and the villains can have a smug expression. In any case, the variety of faces has increased considerably."

The University of Canterbury wants designers of toy faces to "take great care to design the expressions and to test their effect." Maybe the Lego minifigure designers are depressed by the current state of the world and they don't even realize they are making angrier faces. Concerned parents may want to be sure to get happier figures into their children's Lego minifigure collections, such as this smiling Chicken Suit Guy from the Series 9 Minifigure collection or the super happy Graduate minifigure from Lego Minifigures Series 5.

Lego Hulk Minifigure


Lego Graduate Minifigure


Photos: University of Canterbury/Lego Group