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Still Waters

Pareidolia: Seeing Faces in Unusual Places

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The psychological phenomenon that causes some people to see or hear a vague or random image or sound as something significant is known as pareidolia (par-i-DOH-lee-a).

There are a number of theories as to the cause of this phenomenon. Experts say pareidolia provides a psychological determination for many delusions that involve the senses. They believe pareidolia could be behind numerous sightings of UFOs, Elvis and the Loch Ness Monster and the hearing of disturbing messages on records when they are played backwards.

Pareidolia often has religious overtones. A study in Finland found that people who are religious or believe strongly in the supernatural are more likely to see faces in lifeless objects and landscapes.

http://www.livescien...pareidolia.html

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I always see faces in lifeless objects and landscapes. Now I figured out that depending on my mood, the shapes (since I see more than faces) will change, from happy faces or comedic, to more sinister looking ones.

Edited by I believe you

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Love this article. Thanks, Still Waters. :tu:

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It's the supernatural gateway drug to subjective verification.

Funny you never hear about a piece of toast with the image of Zack Galifanakis.

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Don't forget apophenia, where a lot of UM members seem to be acquainted with. Wether or not they realise it.

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Pareidolia is often used as a blanket excuse to disregard most of sightings of paranormal nature.

Sure, trying to interpret shadows in a photograph as faces etc is many time pareidolia, but BS excuses that all UFO sightings is pareidolia is laughable and is one of the retreat/comfort-zone for skeptics to throw anything they dont like.

A study in Finland found that people who are religious or believe strongly in the supernatural are more likely to see faces in lifeless objects and landscapes.

The reverse thing was done on skeptics with pictures that actually held a real object in it but it was fuzzed out. The control group saw it but the outspoken skeptics missed it. They even missed obvious images in clouds. I dont know if it is poor pattern recognition or if it is a lack of imagination.

Pattern recognition is surely a survival trait and being able to put pieces together quickly to decide if flight or fight is the right action has saved us more times than the dude who stood still and said- "I dont see anything, I'm skeptical about all this so I'm gonna stay until it is beyond a doubt obvious that there is a lion in the grass"

image001.jpg

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Here are a few examples of paradolia images though>>>

The "girl" is the end-knob of a handlebar of a stairway in a burning building.

gallery_1520_5_426661.jpg

This one was the sun shining through a porthole on the wall and the irregularities in the bricks makes the image of a face>>

Tantallon-Castle-in-North-Berwick-Ghost.jpg

Or this one, a Loch Ness monster...

graypicture.jpg

Until you see that it is a Labrador swimming with a stick

nessie61.jpg

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Pareidolia is often used as a blanket excuse to disregard most of sightings of paranormal nature.

Sure, trying to interpret shadows in a photograph as faces etc is many time pareidolia, but BS excuses that all UFO sightings is pareidolia is laughable and is one of the retreat/comfort-zone for skeptics to throw anything they dont like.

The reverse thing was done on skeptics with pictures that actually held a real object in it but it was fuzzed out. The control group saw it but the outspoken skeptics missed it. They even missed obvious images in clouds. I dont know if it is poor pattern recognition or if it is a lack of imagination.

Pattern recognition is surely a survival trait and being able to put pieces together quickly to decide if flight or fight is the right action has saved us more times than the dude who stood still and said- "I dont see anything, I'm skeptical about all this so I'm gonna stay until it is beyond a doubt obvious that there is a lion in the grass"

I would appreciate a link to that study. What did the "control group" consist of that differentiated them from skeptics. Do you mean they were believers? Please provide the link :)

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I would appreciate a link to that study. What did the "control group" consist of that differentiated them from skeptics. Do you mean they were believers? Please provide the link :)

Yeah, I will look for it. I'm interested to read it myself again, it was a long time ago. If anyone else here remember it, please post it.

The control group, I believe, was a mix of "ordinary" people, both believers, indifferent and curious people.

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In a controlled study, I think it would make more sense to

make the pictures the control factor,

otherwise how can a base line be established?

Here's a link to a blog that mentions what appears to to be the same study as the OP:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CDIQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.randi.org%2Fsite%2Findex.php%2Fswift-blog%2F1910-innoculated-against-illusion-skeptics-and-face-pareidolia.html&ei=X07KUOO3PKSO0QHKz4HgBQ&usg=AFQjCNEmgPTYltVh3ISsk_zUPoCT9sigbg

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Don't forget apophenia, where a lot of UM members seem to be acquainted with. Wether or not they realise it.

UM would have a hard time existing without Pareidolia, Apophenia, and Confirmation Bias. Most tales of the paranormal wouldn't exist without these concepts. If our senses and brains were calibrated to observe, record, and interpret the world around us exactly as it occurs there would be few accounts of paranormal ANYTHING.

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I do not mean to sound ignorant but isn't apophenia and pareidolia the same thing? Seeing images in otherwise random and meaningless patterns?

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I do not mean to sound ignorant but isn't apophenia and pareidolia the same thing? Seeing images in otherwise random and meaningless patterns?

Apophenia is not just seeing in image but seeing a story. The word is similar to epiphany.

From 'Skeptic's Dictionary':

"In contrast to epiphany, however, apophany does not provide insight into the true nature of reality or its interconnectedness, but is a "process of repetitively and monotonously experiencing abnormal meanings in the entire surrounding experiential field" which are entirely self-referential, solipsistic and paranoid: "being observed, spoken about, the object of eavesdropping, followed by strangers” (Conrad K, Gestaltanalyse und Daseinsanalytik. Nervenarzt 1959;30:405-410)."

http://skepdic.com/apophenia.html

Edited by HDesiato

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I do not mean to sound ignorant but isn't apophenia and pareidolia the same thing? Seeing images in otherwise random and meaningless patterns?

Pareidolia is seeing faces in places there aren't

Apophenia is seeing patterns where there are not

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Here are a few examples of paradolia images though>>>

The "girl" is the end-knob of a handlebar of a stairway in a burning building.

gallery_1520_5_426661.jpg

This one was the sun shining through a porthole on the wall and the irregularities in the bricks makes the image of a face>>

Tantallon-Castle-in-North-Berwick-Ghost.jpg

Or this one, a Loch Ness monster...

graypicture.jpg

Until you see that it is a Labrador swimming with a stick

nessie61.jpg

My brain refuses not to see faces in the top two.

Nice pics

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I have been trying to figure out all my life why I see faces in objects such as tile, clouds, trees, grass, etc... For the longest time I thought that I might have some sort of disorder. On any given day, I see 10-20 faces in objects sometimes more. I am not looking for faces they just pop out at me. I did search the net and found out that this phenomenon is called pareidolia...... I still haven't figured why I see many faces (daily)and not everybody does.... What causes this phenomenon???? I would really love an answer that I understand. This use to be an occasional thing but for the last several years the images I see have gone from once in a while to multiple times daily? Thanks in advance for some feedback.

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I have been trying to figure out all my life why I see faces in objects such as tile, clouds, trees, grass, etc... For the longest time I thought that I might have some sort of disorder. On any given day, I see 10-20 faces in objects sometimes more. I am not looking for faces they just pop out at me. I did search the net and found out that this phenomenon is called pareidolia...... I still haven't figured why I see many faces (daily)and not everybody does.... What causes this phenomenon???? I would really love an answer that I understand. This use to be an occasional thing but for the last several years the images I see have gone from once in a while to multiple times daily? Thanks in advance for some feedback.

Maybe bad eyesight. If you don't have 20/20 vision you can't see what is exactly there and then your mind is filling in the blanks. Maybe get an eye test and see if you need glasses. Worth a try.

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Here are a few examples of paradolia images though>>>

The "girl" is the end-knob of a handlebar of a stairway in a burning building.

gallery_1520_5_426661.jpg

I thought this one was supposed to be a hoax instead of pareilolia? As in an image of a girl from a 1922 postcard put into the 1995 photo?

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