Pareidolia & Apophenia: Flaws In Human Perception

Human perception can, at times, be unreliable and one notable flaw in our capabilities of sensory perception which indicates this is a phenomenon known as pareidolia or apophenia.

However, it is possible to strengthen and improve our sensory acuity with practice

Pareidolia is the name given to a psychological phenomenon which is usually brought on by images or sounds that we don’t consciously recognize.

This causes our minds to search the subconscious ‘database’ for similar patterns stored in our memory, which causes us to see things that are not really there.

Perfect examples are when we see shapes in the clouds or a face in the moon. Our mind is trying to match the image to remembered patterns that we do recognize.

This can also sometimes happen with sound. Speech is made up of a series of clicks, pops and other noises and can sometimes make us think we heard someone say something, only to ask them what they said and they reply “I didn’t say anything!”.

Although apophenia and pareidolia are essentially the same thing, apophenia is the name given to the actual experience, whereas the term pareidolia is the name given to describe the psychological phenomenon.


[ Image from Pixabay – Public Domain – ]

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