I would sometimes look at the clouds and imagine faces or animals. Also, I would find faces in landscapes,food or even man-made objects…..this experience always made me feel clueless. I didn’t know what I am experiencing or why I am imagining this. While reading my Cognitive Psychology textbook I came across a demonstration about finding faces in landscapes which reminded me of my past experiences. Searching more about this topic I came across the term “Face Pareidolia” which is the illusory perception of non-existent faces. I believe most people have never heard about it but nearly everyone has experienced it. According to the World English Dictionary Pareidolia is defined as “the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist.”(BBC, 2013)
Furthermore, Gestalt Law of perception explains how humans have the cognitive tendency to combine isolated, simple ideas and stimuli into meaningful and complex configurations. Gestalt describes in details five laws of perception which are continuity, closure, proximity, similarity and simplicity. Each type looks at a different side of our organizational perception. Continuity perception is when we perceive objects that seem to have a relationship to each other as being continuous. Closure describes our tendency to look for unity in objects and to see lines as a single unit so we tend to fill in details. Proximity indicates our tendency to group together close items in a meaningful way. Law of similarity suggests that similar things tend to appear grouped together. Finally, a law of simplicity or Pragnanz explains how objects in the environment are seen in a way that makes them appear as simple as possible. This cognitive ability is considered a survival technique that our brain uses to automatically seek sensible wholes out of random context.
BBC (2013, May 31). Pareidolia: Why we see faces in hills, the moon and toasties. BBC Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22686500
Gestalt challenge. Retrieved July 12, 2016, from http://gestaltpsychology.weebly.com/gestalt-challenge.html
Goldstein, B. E. (2011). Cognitive psychology: Connecting mind, research and everyday experience with Coglab manual (3rd ed.). United States: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.