“The variety of faces has increased considerably” in Lego!


Did you know that there are now 6,000 mini-figures in the Lego world?! And apparently, according to an academic in New Zealand, Dr Christoph Bartneck, who has looked at every one of them, the number (or did he mean the percentage) of ‘happy faces’ is diminishing…

You could argue that this possibly reflects the real world, sadly, because conflict, anger and anxiety are increasingly all around all of us daily across the planet – or at least, having the 24-7 news streaming at us suggests this is the case.

Two things stood out for me from the reports I’ve seen of Dr Bartneck’s study: first, I had not appreciated that Lego’s original figures which my children played for hours with had only positive-looking faces. Did those expressions influence their play? I rather suspect they did because war games and violence were hard to imagine if playing Lego. Will future children’s development be impacted? Probably yes and for the worse.

Secondly, I was delighted to read that the variety of faces had increased considerably but I wonder if that means that the ethnicity and physical conformation of the lego faces now watches with the population as a whole. In particular, are there some figures who have evil characteristics who have been ‘given’ stereotypical scarring?

My antennae for such influences on children has been heightened recently by Victoria Wright’s experience of being linked with a Monster in her daughter’s playground and the experience of her friend who was likened to a Moshi Monster. So I am going to take Dr Bartneck’s academic paper for a bit of weekend reading – and will be posing him some questions too!