Pattern recognition enhancement

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Face in a cloud by Neil Usher - This image serves as an example of pattern recognition enhancement.

Pattern recognition enhancement is defined as an increase in a person's ability and tendency to recognize patterns (usually faces) within vague stimuli.

This innate ability which human beings possess in everyday life is referred to by the scientific literature as pareidolia and is a well documented phenomenon.[1][2][3] Common examples of this include spotting faces in everyday objects, such as the front of a car, or seeing different objects in clouds.[4]

During this effect, pareidolia can be significantly more pronounced than it would usually be during a sober state.[5] 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 standard visual hallucination.

Pattern recognition enhancement is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as acuity enhancement and colour enhancement.[6][7] It is most commonly induced under the influence of mild dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Image examples

Psychoactive substances

Compounds within our psychoactive substance index which may cause this effect include:

Psychoactive substances

Anecdotal reports which describe this effect within our experience index include:

See also

External links


  1. Liu, Jiangang; Li, Jun; Feng, Lu; Li, Ling; Tian, Jie; Lee, Kang (2014). "Seeing Jesus in toast: Neural and behavioral correlates of face pareidolia". Cortex. 53: 60–77. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2014.01.013. ISSN 0010-9452. 
  2. Hadjikhani, Nouchine; Kato, Masaharu; Mugitani, Ryoko (2015). "Pareidolia in Infants". PLOS ONE. 10 (2): e0118539. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0118539. ISSN 1932-6203. 
  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, Henry David (1983). "Visual Phenomenology of the LSD Flashback". Archives of General Psychiatry. 40 (8): 884. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1983.01790070074009. ISSN 0003-990X. 
  5. Halberstadt, Adam L. (2015). "Recent advances in the neuropsychopharmacology of serotonergic hallucinogens". Behavioural Brain Research. 277: 99–120. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2014.07.016. ISSN 0166-4328. 
  6. 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. doi:10.1007/s11419-014-0242-9. ISSN 1860-8965. 
  7. Bersani, Francesco Saverio; Corazza, Ornella; Albano, Gabriella; Valeriani, Giuseppe; Santacroce, Rita; Bolzan Mariotti Posocco, Flaminia; Cinosi, Eduardo; Simonato, Pierluigi; Martinotti, Giovanni; Bersani, Giuseppe; Schifano, Fabrizio (2014). "25C-NBOMe: Preliminary Data on Pharmacology, Psychoactive Effects, and Toxicity of a New Potent and Dangerous Hallucinogenic Drug". BioMed Research International. 2014: 1–6. doi:10.1155/2014/734749. ISSN 2314-6133.