Pareidolia, it is not a disease, or, if it is, it is a rather pleasant disease since it is the tendency to find associations between unrelated images. An example for all is that of clouds that take on the shapes of noses and faces, of animals or spaceships. Exist many other examples of pareidolia and real artists who used this type of illusion to create architectural works and masterpieces. The shapes that we seem to recognize are usually human figures and faces, but not only.
When we talk about pareidolia, or pareidolytic illusion, we mean that subconscious illusion which tends to lead objects or profiles (natural or artificial) with a random shape to known forms. The The term comes from the Greek εἴδωλον èidōlon, “image”, with the prefix παρά parà, “near”.
It is not a voluntary association that we intend to analyze, but instinctive and automatic: at a glance you can recognize ordered structures and familiar forms even in images that they do not necessarily want to show in themselves.
There pareidolia it's a particular case of apophenia, it is believed to have been favored by evolution because it is in a certain sense a way to preventively identify dangerous situations even if the clues are few.
In addition to the clouds with the face, there are numerous cases of famous pareidolia. For example, some can see another face in the sky, and not in the clouds but on Mars, in truth it is a Martian rock formation taken by the Viking 1 probe.
Even the vision of a human face in the moon is quite frequent, or the recognition of who knows what figures, in the constellations.
In Japan, a Chichibu, then there is the Chinsekikan museum which means "corridor of curious rocks", and it is a private museum composed of natural rocks for fans of pareidolia. In fact, human faces can be easily recognized, called jinmenseki.
Do you ever think it is ringing the phone, or that a message has arrived, or that someone is calling you, and instead it isn't? It's not about hallucinations, not always, at least, but it's easy to be a case of acoustic pareidolia. It consists, like the visual one, in recognizing sounds or noises when we perceive noises instead of completely random.
In addition to the phantom phone ring, sometimes also a symptom of stress, there are other examples of acoustic pareidolia such as those relating to the alleged satanic messages included in heavy metal songs. They have been reported for Led Zeppelin and even for the Beatles.
Take a test to see if we have this kind of visions it is not easy because it is an instinctive thing that comes automatically, but if you commit yourself, sometimes you are inhibited. A more fun test can be done with a computer vision program it generates pareidolitic illusions: Google's Deep Dream. There are also others who work in a similar way and try to identify in an image the shapes that are familiar and known to us.
The visual pareidolia is the one we have talked about so far. Could be very fun, even playing with children, accustoming them to observe and see beyond. I recommend a book suitable for children and evergreen visionaries. Optical illusions. by Jon Kirkwood.
Pareidolia: Leonardo da Vinci
One of the many artists who used the visual pareidolia to create, it is precisely the well-known and brilliant Leonardo. In truth, it should not be said of him, "one of many" because his works and his intuitions are incomparable or almost.
Let's resume, to conclude, precisely his words: "And this is: if you look at some walls smeared with various stains or stones of various mixes, if you try to invent some site, you will be able to see the similarity of different countries there, decorated with mountains, rivers, stones, dawns, plains, great valleys and hills in different ways; again you will be able to see different battles and ready acts of figures, strange arias of faces and clothes and infinite things, which you will be able to reduce into an integral and good shape. And it intervenes in similar and mixed walls as bells are, that they touch them you will find every name and word you imagine "
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