Man on the Moon

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Have you ever seen a cloud that looks like an animal? What about that grilled cheese that looked like jesus? Both of those are examples of pareidolia, which occurs when the brain takes meaningless images and turns them into something that means something. I can't tell you the number of times that I was walking around in the dark and thought I saw a man in my house that turned out to be clothes on a chair. More popular examples of pareidolia is the 'Man on the Moon' and the 'Face on Mars' that the textbook talks about. In 1976, the Mars Viking Orbiter took pictures of the surface of Mars and by random chance and the way that light made shadows on the rocks, the picture of rocks on Mars turned into the image of a face. Pareidolia can be so convincing to some people that just this image was enough proof to them that there was intelligent life on Mars. Another example of a large population creating an image out of unintentional stimulus involved the 1954 Canadian dollar. So many people saw an image of the devil in her hair that it was taken out of circulation. The likeness that was used on the bill was taken by a camera and not drawn so there was no devil, but it isn't very hard to see if you look closely.
What examples of pareidolia have you seen in your life?


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This is a very interesting topic. I think that this is related to ESP, just like how people think that a psychic reading a crystal ball is accurate. I also sometimes look at the clouds and see different things like animals, objects and people, but I know never to take any of the "images" I see to mean anything.

I think just about everyone could say that they've seen a meaningful image while looking at clouds at some point or another. What I find interesting about this phenomenon is the constant search for order in chaos. Why is it that people must search for something meaningful in something that is completely random, like melted cheese or a knot in a tree? Are we as a species that desperate, or paranoid to think that things cannot simply be what they are?

I liked how unique your topic was. It really got my attention because I have some sort of background with it. I also think that just about everyone who reads this blog will be able to relate to it in some way. Also, you chose very good pictures to use.

I can relate with the seeing clothes hung randomly in my house as a person and being startled. My "favorite" examples are the ones where you fold the dollar bill into weird conspiracy theories. It just proves that you need certain amount of skepticism in our perceptions.

I liked the title, got me in right away when added with the Pope John fire picture.

Your post is really catchy with attractive pictures. Moreover, your blog title made me want to read your post and I am very interested while reading it. What I like the most from your blog is the creative examples that you give, for instance, your experience seeing clothes on chair and the dollar bill. Nice job in putting them together!

I love this topic. I guess everyone will have this kind of interesting experience. Sometimes, especially in the dark night, I always consider a chair or a small construction as a stranger and feel nervous. However, I think this phenomenon always causes by the psychological activities.

This topic was very interesting to me. I definitely have had episodes like this in my like. So many times I see things and form them into something else. You provided alot of good info and examples which proved to be a good read.

It's interesting to think how much we really do experience pareidolia without even realizing it. I don't know how many times I've mistaken something in the dark for a person, and of course, I always get freaked out. I know I use to love laying in the grass and looking up at clouds and seeing the different shapes I could pick out! I really enjoyed reading your post!

Very interesting post! it's incredible to me the amount of people that buy into these fake images. I remember a time when I was very tired that I kept thinking a post on a roof was a person. It's incredible how some clouds can look exactly like objects as well!

I have experienced things like this a lot. In the dark, clouds, house windows... Our brain can really make up weird things.

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This page contains a single entry by carpe380 published on February 1, 2012 3:20 PM.

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