Increased pareidolia

Increased pareidolia is an often drastic enhancement of a person's ability and tendency to recognise patterns and meaning within vague stimuli, such as seeing shapes in clouds and seeing faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns. [4]

Seeing patterns that resemble human faces is an innate ability humans possess in everyday life and is well documented in scientific literature under the term pareidolia. [1] [2] [3] However, during this effect, pareidolia can be significantly more pronounced than it would usually be during a sober state. [5] [6] For example, remarkably detailed images may appear embedded in scenery, everyday objects may look like faces, and clouds may appear as fantastical objects, all without any visual alterations taking place. Once an image has been perceived within an object or landscape, the mind may further exaggerate this recognition through the hallucinatory effect known as transformations, which goes beyond pareidolia and becomes a more standard visual hallucination.

Increased pareidolia is often accompanied by other coinciding effects, such as visual acuity enhancement and colour enhancement. [7] [8] It is most commonly induced under the influence of mild dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.


  1. Liu, J., Li, J., Feng, L., Li, L., Tian, J., & Lee, K. (2014). Seeing Jesus in toast: neural and behavioral correlates of face pareidolia. Cortex, 53, 60-77. |
  2. Kato, M., & Mugitani, R. (2015). Pareidolia in infants. PloS one, 10(2), e0118539. |
  3. Coolidge, F. L., & Coolidge, M. L. (2016, August 09). Why People See Faces When There Are None: Pareidolia. Retrieved February 21, 2018, from |
  4. Abraham, H. D. (1983). Visual phenomenology of the LSD flashback. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 40(8), 886-887. |
  5. Belser, Alexander B.; Agin-Liebes, Gabrielle; Swift, T. Cody; Terrana, Sara; Devenot, Neşe; Friedman, Harris L.; Guss, Jeffrey; Bossis, Anthony; Ross, Stephen (2017). "Patient Experiences of Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis". Journal of Humanistic Psychology. 57 (4): 354–388. |
  6. Halberstadt, A. L. (2015). Recent advances in the neuropsychopharmacology of serotonergic hallucinogens. Behavioural brain research, 277, 99-120. |
  7. Papoutsis, Ioannis; Nikolaou, Panagiota; Stefanidou, Maria; Spiliopoulou, Chara; Athanaselis, Sotiris (2014). "25B-NBOMe and its precursor 2C-B: modern trends and hidden dangers". Forensic Toxicology. 33 (1): 1–11. |
  8. Bersani, F. S., Corazza, O., Albano, G., Valeriani, G., Santacroce, R., Bolzan Mariotti Posocco, F., ... & Schifano, F. (2014). 25C-NBOMe: preliminary data on pharmacology, psychoactive effects, and toxicity of a new potent and dangerous hallucinogenic drug. BioMed Research International, 2014. |




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