Pareidolia

Hi,
today I will write about pareidolia a commonly seen phenomena. People often see familiar objects in completely random things, like rocks.


Clearly there is face in the upper middle part of the picture on the left. There is definitely sign of both eyes, of nose and mouth, thats more than one needs to SNice.svgrecognise face in something, consider the following one on the right. Do you see the black thick circle filled with yellow color, two ellipses and curved line extended in the ends? Yeah me too.

The point is that humans are great in recognizing (most often faces) in things that are actually not them. The first picture is photo of region Cydonia which is a area on Mars. It was taken in 1976 by Viking 1 and of course people thought that it was proof for extraterrestrial life! Well if you take enough photos of Mars there is high probability that some of the rocks there will resemble primitive faces.

Pick me! Some may bypass this pear for its blemished skin while others will see how eager it is to please

“I am the evidence of life on Earth, beware!”

Pareidolia does not happen only in images but also in sounds. For example there is a group of people who listen to so-called “ghost boxes” (sub category of ghost hunters). Ghost box is a box that is skimming quickly through radio channels. This creates lot of background noise and static noise with mix of what you can hear from the actual radio.. they say that the ghost can easily communicate through it.

Simplest explanation is of course that they just interpret extremely bad audio as some kind of words, plus if they listen for many hours they will eventually pop out something that will be an answer to your question, here is a link so you can consider for yourself, remember humans are great in interpreting random noise as actual words[1] (skip like 3 minutes for actual talk).

The story of the original Mars picture got stretched over many years. 2 decades after taking the picture, there was much better one taken by Mars Express as you can see below it was just the low resolution of Viking spacecraft.

There are many things that can trick us so it is not best to take the first explanation that we can think of, be sceptical and do not share if you do not know anything about it.

Dragallur

[1]The “answers” should be mostly made by random quotes from songs.

Smiley: By en:User:Mystìc – Originally created by en:User:Mystìc at en:Image:SNive.gif. Vectorized by Psiĥedelisto, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55079042

Pear: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3280816/What-photos-s-faces-suffer-facial-pareidolia.html

 

Peak-end effect

Hi,
I was struggling what to write about today but finally I looked into my notes where all previous ideas for posts hide and I decided to write about peak-end effect which is something I have read about months ago though even today I think about it as something really cool. (Uhh, one sentence)

Important cognitive bias!


I found peak end when I was reading the book Organized Mind (or was it in Thinking fast and slow?). There was experiment described:

There are people in experiment. For one minute they will put their hand into bucket of water with 10°C (which is pretty cold and it hurts).

After one minute they will warm they hand back and then it continues. Another minute in bucket of 10°C water and then 30 seconds in the same bucket but with temperature secretly rised to about 12°C (you can feel the difference).

Now they asked them if they would rather repeat the first part which means one minute in 10° or the second (1 minute 10° and 30 seconds 12°) (in the original experiment the temperature may be different)

Well what would you do? Both hurt but the second clearly hurts more because it is exactly same but with another 30 seconds in which your hand will get even colder. It is clear that anyone outside the experiment would choose the first option but most if not all subjects chose the second because of peak end.


As Kahneman says, the people chose the second one because they liked the memory of it better.

The mind tends to remember ends of events and also the peaks which means both up and downs. In the experiment people remembered that the water was a bit warmer in the END so they wanted to repeat it.

Of course you can transform this situation into your life. For example I often rate my life from 0-10 points, how much I am satisfied with what I am doing here. Now every time I do it I remember how much I am influenced by the last events, the END and how much by the PEAKS (bad and good school reports, girl relationships and so on).

So yes, I think that people often make statements by the peak-end rule saying things like “my life sucks” and so on though it can influence your life in the other way, so that you think everything is fine while it may not be.

Also remember that effects like this are used by companies. It is very easy for hotel or for some holiday organization to make your feelings better when they satisfy you in the end of your visit.

Dragallur