11 thoughts on “What Does ‘Pareidolia’ Mean and Why is it Dangerous?

  • January 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I struggle with believing that mankind has been recognizing resemblances since the beginning of time but we only came up with a word for it in 1994! Pareidolia, according to Wordspy.com, was only first used in 1994, and I challenge anyone to find the word in any print dictionary. A replica or resemblance exists in nature whether someone has a tendency to recognize them or not. An interesting note on this subject is that when creatives employ this technique of Extracting these Resemblances from the patterns around us, the individual tends to invent their own vocabulary. Consider the words apophenia, synchronicity, paranoiac-critical method, matrixing, confirmation bias, anthropomorphism, simulacrum, and patternicity to name a few! Even Leonardo da Vinci ran across the curiosity so he put it in his book, A Treatise on Painting, in which he claimed that looking at mold-stained walls and such is new way of awakening the mind to new ideas/inventions. By the way, I call it Extractionism and it’s how I discovered the Old Man in the Peanut.

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    • September 19, 2018 at 4:08 pm

      I have taken over 20000 pictures, deleting them , why ? , because ive looked at pareidolia since i was a teen ager , 48 now. All of a sudden for no reason , there was more of it than was normal. So ive looked into it fir 2 years.
      I can honestly say I believe why they want you to think its a sickness is because they are demons. Thats my conclusion and why i no longer take pictures or look into it. It is tied to the fake invasion. Call me crazy or not i do not care. I found out the truth of it.
      God bless all if you , yes i found God because of thus , i hope others can to.

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  • January 19, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    I love that name, “Pareidolioa”. Thanks for this article. I also read about Leonardo’s studies with his students, who he got to cover a rugged rock with white silk and draw fanastic images from their imaginings in the folds and creases and also of Dali and the paranoiac critical method. A large part of my art is derived from this method. While it enables very high creativity, it also can give rise to strong anxiety. When straching the limits of ones sanity in search of creativity the artist has to be careful how far they can push it and learn skills to come back from the inner edge reality.

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  • January 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I would like to add that while researching this phemomenia, I have found many writers on the subject do express a bias viewing this type of thinking negativly. Often labelling it as, faulty or eronouse cognition or defective cognative thinking. This present day bias was also mirrored in pre war Germany when ‘surrealist art was labled ‘degernerative art’ and veiwed as ‘subversive to the dominate hard rationalism’

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  • March 17, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    I work alone using my computer and get to see shadowy images of a person appearing and suddenly disappearing. It really freaked me and disturbed me and now it has led me to search in the internet and read your post. Thanks for your clarification about this eerie and annoying issue.

    I do not think I will get used to seeing such shadowy beings in future. So kindly let me know if there is any way to get rid of this weird problem. Thanks.

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  • September 1, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Yes,I can see how it works,as a kid we use to lie on the lawn and watch the clouds and my mind told me it cannot be real,but was fun doing it anyway!NOW we are adults and the world has changed so much with UFO’S and hat not,now you start thinking twice before you form an opinion!That they ARE here,is for sure,millions of people cannot suffer from the same thing all at the SAME time.so I believe there is merit to this madness!!!

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  • September 28, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Behind my house lies a “Sleeping Princess” with a “Sleeping Prince” next to her. When trying to explain where I live, no one knows about these mountain formations. They just
    can’t see it. When they figure it out, they say ” Ohhhh, I see it now”.

    And the cloud formations are amazing! I have tons of pictures of animal faces, mostly.
    I admit, I see a face in objects alot. It is just so clear to me…” Hey look, it has a
    face”. Too extreme?

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  • April 20, 2017 at 12:46 am

    This was really good. I was just commenting to someone today about days when pareidolia seems high with me, while Rorschach attempted one diagnostic with the ink blots, I think pareidolia – because the willingness to frame meaning where it isn’t existing with intent? comes from within ? without being asked ‘what do you see’ ? I think testing for pareidolia could greatly benefit some people. I liked your focus on panic attacks, while I don’t have them ? I was saying earlier today that gee – we people see faces in things where there really is no face? What ELSE in their life might they be reading something into things.

    Scarily, it’s possible all meaning is pareidoliac perhaps heh – I recall linguist/philosophy Ludwig Wittginstein contemplating just what a word means. I think he settled on it’s use. Either way, as I said, there are some days I’ll see a face in a crack in a wall getting off the commode heh – and other days nothing. I do wonder if visual pareidolia could be a gauge or test to help people realize just how much they might be reading meaning into things without a reality check.

    To some degree I think pareidolia examination could be far more beneficial than a Rorschach test in diagnosis of mania/panic events.

    Thanks so much for this article.

    Keep in mind though, i think pareidolia DOES have value though, it’s just good to know when it’s in play.

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  • May 13, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    I feel that this Pareidolia can be a gift if you are an artist,,,which I am…I will stare at a piece of paper and slowly, sometimes suddenly, images begin to appear and I follow them with my pen, or pencil, and when finished, appears a cornucopia of interesting creatures..a menagerie if you will…oddly after drawing all these beings that come to play on my canvas for this WHILE ENUFF to be drawn, I feel pleasantly relaxed..THERAPY..Now..I wonder…if one believes in God, did this GOD birth from their own Pareidolia US..just a thought…from dust we were made…wonderfully…maybe all of creation came from Pareidolia within the Gods…Now then..I might add that when I am manic..pareidolia is at it’s all time high…and so then in order to therapize my mania, I draw relentlessly…but what comes is ART…I thank God for this ability because without it, I would be bored and sad..lol..yes..I have Bipolar Disorder..but it can be an advantage to you if you use the gift as a gift and not as a disorder..mind you..and treatment keeps these things organized so that they can be a gift rather than a menace…..

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  • May 13, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    I will say that I feel that this phenomenon can be considered a gift, if you are an Artist..I am..So I feel it’s helpful…I see images on my canvas when I stare at the blank landscape and boom..I begin…after this I am pleasantly relaxed..I am wondering if the Gods were the first to use this..from dust we were made..lol..
    As some one with Bipolar I can tell you that when I become manic..and this phenomenon is at an all time high, this is when my best work is done..I must say tho…treatment to harness this gift, to use it wisely and not allow yourself to slip into psychosis is essential…so therapy and treatment to prevent that is very important…

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  • September 17, 2018 at 11:38 am

    I see the relation and point between Pareidolia and your headache (and biological symptoms) example; however this is not the same as Pareidolia. There are actual relationships between headaches (and other physical ailments) and major medical events. Now, I agreed that most the time you have any sort of symptom it is most likely not an indication of any major medical issue. Besides, If you do get a headache and it’s an aneurysm, what are you going to be able to do about it? I do think it’s reasonable to keep in mind symptoms could be an indication of bigger issues, but it’s probably not. Don’t obsess over it. If you hear the sound of approaching galloping hoofs don’t assume it’s a Zebra…. well unless you’re on an African plain.

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