Pareidolia Art

Screenshot_2Pareidolia (pronounced pa-ri-DOE-lee-a) is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or a sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples including seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hearing hidden messages on records played in reverse.
It is thought that there may be some kind of evolutionary advantage to this malfunctioning of the perceptual
apparatus, particularly with regard to our tendency to see faces in commonplace objects. Carl Sagan hypothesized that as a survival technique, human beings are “hard-wired” from birth to identify the human face. While this allows people to use only minimal details to recognize faces from a distance and in poor
visibility, it also lead them to interpret random images or patterns of light and shade as being faces. The evolutionary advantages of being able to identify friend from foe, with split second accuracy, are numerous; prehistoric (and even modern) men and women who accidentally identify an enemy a a fried could face deadly consequences for their mistake. This is only one among many evolutionary pressures responsible for the development of the modern facial recognition capability of humans.
In 2009, a magnetoencephalography study found that objects incidentally perceived as faces, evoke an early
activation in the ventral fusiform cortex, at a time and location similar to that evoked by faces, whereas other
common objects do not evoke such activation. This activation is similar to a slightly earlier peak seen for
images of real faces. The authors suggest that face perception evoked by face-like objects is a relatively
early process, and not a late cognitive reinterpretation phenomenon.
This study has helped to explain why people identify the “face” features, as in the picture below, so quickly
and without hesitation. Precognitive processes are activated by the “face-like” object, which alert the
observer to the emotional state and identity of the subject….even before the conscious mind begins to process
or even receive the information. The “stick figure face”, despite its simplicity, conveys mood information (in

this case, disappointment or mild unhappiness). It would be just as simple to draw a stick figure face that

would be perceived as hostile and aggressive. This robust and subtle capability is the result of eons of natural
selection favoring people most able to quickly identify the mental state, for example, of threatening people,
thus providing the individual an opportunity to flee and fight another day. In other words, processing this
information subcortically (and, therefore, subconsciously and before it is passed on to the rest of the brain for
detailed processing, accelerates judgment and decision making when alacrity is paramount. This ability,
though highly specializes for the processing and recognition of human emotions, also functions to determine
the demeanor of wildlife.
Shellie Langdeau

Shellie Langdeau

Health & Safety
Department Chair

Hi all! My name is Shellie. I live in Rockville, Rhode Island. Born and raised in “the sticks”, so to speak. I’ve been a social worker for very close to 25 years, working directly with people who suffer from chronic mental illness and substance abuse issues. I didn’t have my first paranormal experience till I was in my early 30’s. Since that time, I’ve been infatuated with the unknown. My mind is driven to want provable facts though. I will search and search to find a logical explanation for everything lol.
Shellie Langdeau

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