WOW - WORD OF the WEEK #2 Pareidolia
Here is a fun word that describes a fascinating phenomenon that every writer should consider as a writing prompt. One way or another, I dare say, everyone has experienced what it describes. Last but not least, photographic history is littered with pareidolia.
So, what is it?
Pareidolia describes an imagined pattern or a meaning (can be audio as well) where none really exists. Especially seeing (human) faces in nature or everyday objects (see below picture of mine - not brilliant but an original:-)
:-) the smiley face is another example!
A classic example that's been talked, written and sung about a plenty is of course the "man in the moon" and the internet went hot for a while when people saw the "face of the devil" in the smoke of the burning twin towers. And, of course, we probably all smiled back at the "smiley face" on a morning toast.
|Picture credit: Author 2019|
Let's test you for a second: Do you see a face (e.g. Koala? Owl)) here then your brain is experiencing the psychological phenomenon!
Pareidolia is considered a subcategory of Apophenia (another interesting word). Pareidolia has been mentioned and observed in the context of psychology, art (Leonardo Da Vinci's notebook mentioned it as a creative device), computer programming, religion. It is also an attempts to explain the paranormal, such as a "shadow person", a popular literary feature and object of history and folklore - a tradition that is well and alive in today's fantasy genre.
Apparently, in 2004, a ten year old cheese sandwich sold for $28,000 online, because it was perceived to have the image of the Virgin Mary burned onto it and according to pareidolia science, evolutionary psychologists argue that the phenomenon of Pareidolia was advantageous to our ancestors.
> Have you experienced pareidolia? Do you use it in your writing or as a stimulus to get started? <
Leave your comments below:-)