Friday, August 04, 2006

Pareidolia

I was reading about pareidolia--which is the tendency for humans to recognize faces or other human traits in things like clouds or Mars landscapes or inkblot tests, etc.

It made me think a lot about how we as ghosthunters or paranormal researchers can be affected by this. Is that human-shaped? Does that orb have a face--see the eyes and smile (oh, that one drives me crazy)? How texture and reflections can make us believe we are seeing human-like things.

I remember on one investigation, we were looking at a photo. In the background was a large painting. Someone said "Is that a face?" and everyone started to seriously examine it (the photo). I took one look at it and said, "It's the reflection of the light on the surface of the painting." It had a golden matte look to it and I saw no face at all. I was kind of surprised when I felt my opinion was dismissed. I was the only one to call it that. What was wrong with me, right? LOL.

I don't know, the more that I do this, the more that I need claims to be more substantial. I'm having a hard time with the little things.

1 comment:

lynne said...

That is something that is very interesting to me as well...not only because I'm interested in the paranormal but also because I encounter the same thing in my own field...art history. I teach and sometimes my kids see a little too much in a work of art. Once you start looking and trying to find symbols in something it's difficult to shut it off.