Advertise Here!




www.all-about-psychology.com/psychology-advertising.html



If you love psychology, you'll love these great psychology mugs.


A great gift idea for psychology majors and psychologists.



Psychology Gifts


CLICK HERE or click on the mug image above to see the full collection.



Pareidolia



Pareidolia




Face perception is a very important human attribute. Our brains it would seem are hard-wired to help us recognize the presence of a face from birth; newborn babies for instance will automatically focus attention towards any face-like pattern.


This deep-rooted face detection system remains operational throughout our lives. Let's see if we can trigger yours!



Pareidolia Pictures

(Images courtesy of nottsexminer, thentoff & Nico via flickr creative commons.)



See a face or two? Assuming you did, the psychological phenomenon you are experiencing is known as pareidolia i.e. the perception of an ambiguous and random stimulus as significant. 


One of the best known examples of pareidolia is the "face on Mars", the famous NASA image taken in 1976 by the Viking 1 orbiter (satellite photos from a later NASA mission in 2001 shattered the illusion of the original image).


Face on Mars! Pareidolia.




What is it about Mars?



Ever since NASA's twin exploration rovers landed on Mars (January 3 and January 24, 2004) and began beaming back images, people claim to have seen all manner of things on the red planet, including as intimated in the following video, a polar bear!





In the name of psychological science, I decided to spend some time surveying the Martian landscape close to where the polar bear was spotted and guess what? That bear is not alone!



There's More Than Just A Polar Bear on Mars!

Got to love pareidolia!





Religious Pareidolia



There are lots of examples of a random stimulus inducing religious pareidolia. Most notably, the toasted cheese sandwich purportedly bearing the image of the Virgin Mary which sold on eBay for $28,000! 

You can get further details on this story and see a picture of this very expensive lunch item by Clicking Here.



Projective Pareidolia



Rorschach inkblot


The Rorschach inkblot test, a very popular and some would say questionable method of psychological evaluation is a great example of applied pareidolia. During the Rorschach test individuals are shown a series of inkblots and are asked to to say the first thing that comes to mind. Because the inkblot stimulus is ambiguous, it is claimed that the patient must impose his or her own interpretive structure on to the image, and in doing so they reveal their thoughts and feelings, some of which are unconscious and have been projected into the inkblot image, hence the term projective testing.



If you would like to learn more about the iconic and opinion dividing Rorschach inkblot test, you can do so via the following link.


Psychology Tests





Pareidolia Research



"Why and how do we tend to see faces in objects that have constituent parts resembling those of a face? Is it because our brains are hard-wired to detect the presence of a face as quickly as possible, or is it a later cognitive construction or interpretation?"

This was the central question investigated by Nouchine Hadjikhani and colleagues as part of their pareidolia-related research investigation. You can read their published findings in full by Clicking Here.



Pareidolia Picture Gallery



Pareidolia


See following link to check out some of the very best pareidolia pictures out there.


Pareidolia Pictures




Recent Articles

  1. Social Psychology: Today in the History of Psychology (23rd January 1924)

    Jan 23, 19 10:00 AM




    Floyd Allport's groundbreaking book 'Social Psychology' was published. Drawing upon experimental methods and applied research to study group process, rather than sociological perspectives which had pr…

    Read More

  2. Francis Bacon: Today in the History of Psychology (22nd January 1561)

    Jan 22, 19 10:00 AM




    Francis Bacon was born. An eminent polymath and celebrated thinker, Bacon pioneered and championed empirical and inductive methods of inquiry, the fundamental basis of all modern science; including ex…

    Read More

  3. The Psychopath: Today in the History of Psychology (21st January 1885)

    Jan 21, 19 10:00 AM




    The Pall Mall Gazette publishes the first recognized account of the term psychopath as we understand it today. Reporting on the acquittal of a Russian woman in a child murder case, the Gazette points…

    Read More


New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.





Back To The Top Of The Page


Go From Pareidolia Back To The Home Page