By Erica Neumann

A Pareidolic Response to Environmental Stimuli occurs when it is triggered by a certain richly textured surface or object . This human trait is a result of a survival mechanism, where the environment is quickly scanned for potential threats. A well known example is seeing animals in clouds. The curious experience has been artistically communicated in modern culture, on the internet via image sharing of trees resembling people and faces emerging from woodgrain texture. Indigenous cultures name mountain ranges for the people or animals visible in the rock contours. Photography books depict figures perceived in vegetation, and daVinci admitted using it to create scenes. As a human trait, it would have been active, perhaps even more pronounced in the Upper Paleolithic, and in ancient times. Without knowledge of the scientific explanation, a Pareidolic event would have significant impact on ancient people, resulting in an artistic communication of the beings perceived.
Environmental triggers and the corresponding art include:
the moon (man in the moon) - Inca and Haida art
rock surface - cave art (traced directly)
trees - (Baobab) Australian Aboriginal art
tree limbs and shadows - some stick men
rocks reflected shoreline - Haida
Lava - Maori and Hawaiin
Desert vegetation - Hopi


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Erica Neumann



Published: 17 May, 2018

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