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The perception of a recognizable image or meaningful pattern where none exists or is intended, as the perception of a face in the surface features of the moon.

[para- + Greek eidōlon, image, phantom; see idol + -ia.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Psychiatry) the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features
[C20: from para-4 + eidolon]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in periodicals archive ?
According to Emily Lakdawalla, a member of Planetary Society, she acknowledges that anyone who will see the photo would definitely see the figure as humanoid but regards that it is nothing more than an example of pareidolia. This was described as, "the human propensity to see patterns in random shapes."
A few columns ago I wrote about pareidolia, the tendency to see meaningful images in random things, such as a barking dog in a cloud or the visage of Jesus in a grilled cheese sandwich.
Objectives: Pareidolia is the interpretation of previously unseen and unrelated objects as familiar due to previous learning.
Others have ascribed his fanciful observations to pareidolia, a psychological phenomenon in which the mind perceives a familiar pattern where none exists.
Staggeringly prolific, Yemi Bolatiwa, 27, is the frontwoman for genrestraddling outfit Pareidolia, a frequent collaborator with funk band The Exactors, and she's part of local artistic enterprise the M20 Collective.
I learned a new word today, Pareidolia. It's that psychological phenomenon wherein one perceives seeing a familiar image in daily visual patterns, say for example, finding faces or figures in cloud formations.
Auditory pareidolia: Effects of contextual priming on perceptions of purportedly paranormal and ambiguous auditory stimuli.
The phenomenon is actually called pareidolia. That describes the effect when the mind perceives a pattern where none exists.
Pareidolia, for instance, is seeing patterns in random data, such as the face of Jesus in a cream cracker or the date of the apocalypse in Donald Trump's social security number.
The psychological phenomenon of seeing an image, such as faces, where none exists is called pareidolia.
Such phenomena fall under the aegis of pareidolia, the impulse to extract meaning from the seemingly random--from clustering illusions to mondegreens and constellations.