Posted by Mythbuster2009| Friday, July 9, 2010 | Labels: pareidolia|
Pareidolia is a very interesting phenomena of the brain, rather the brain-to-eye or eye-to-brain connection, whereby what the eye sees, the brain interprets - in the way the brain LIKES to interpret things. Ultimately, the brain likes things it KNOWS...so the brain takes unfamiliar things the eyes see and interprets them as something the brain knows about.
ie: the random pattern in the clouds comes to be seen as a human FACE, sometimes a recognizable face like the face of Jesus (based on our favourite, preffered picture of Jesus? Perhaps one that has been on the wall at our parents' or grandparents' home for the past 20-39 years?).
the face of Jesus in a pattern on a piece of toast!
the "Man on/in the Moon" we think we see in the valleys and shadow that we can't quite see clearly when we look up at the moon
animal shapes in the clouds
animal or human face shapes in the leaves or trees
Our brains like to make "random" patterns and unfamiliar things have a meaning we can understand, so our brains tell us we are seeing familiar and recognizable things/objects - when really, there might be no full pattern that truly corresponds with what our brain tells us we are seeing. Who
In my recent research into this phenomena, I've come to wonder if there are times when pareidolia is the explanation for things we associate with "bump in the night" scares and sightings of shadow people, ghosts, etc. I won't venture to say that all instances of perceived ghost sightings and the like are pareidolia experiences and not the viewing of ghosts at all, but I've convinced myself that at least SOME ghost sightings can be explained by the pareidolia quirk of our eye-brain connections.
NASA Photo of the Moon - Image Location (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Martian_face_viking_cropped.jpg
This photo shows something that looks amazingly like a human face...but scientists say it's coincidental that the far-away valleys and shadows are actually a human face... it's likely our eyes and brain that manufacture the explanation that we're looking at a face. It's Moon terrain, but it looks like a face emerging from or half-embedded in the terrain of the moon. See the Man in the Moon article at Wikipedia if you'd like to learn more about the valleys and shadows on the Moon. Our eyes have also perceived of other "familiar" objects in pictures of the moon: a woman, a skeleton, a dragon, an Angel, a toad and toadstool, and a few other things.
Lack of critical thinking has meant that when some people see images/photos like the one above, they instantly believe they are seeing what the brain tells them they see...consequently, many people have literally FREAKED RIGHT OUT about this photo and have declared a number of false accusations against the government (for hiding the fact that there are people on the moon, people have been on the moon before "we" ever got there, etc. There's quite a long list of accusations) for government secrecy and conspiracy concerning successful (or covert, unannounced but successful) trips to the moon, etc. It is THIS lack of critical thinking I hope to get away from by discussing controversial or out-of-the-box and "weird" topics on this blog...many things we THINK we see require extra examination and discussion - lest we create hysteria, erroneous judgments and statements and all manner of mistakes in the world and when examining our world.