Seeing Things: Pareidolia in My Collage for LMAC #128

in Let's Make a Collage4 months ago

shaka 128 gif.gif

The picture at the top of this blog was created from @shaka's template photo for LMAC #128.

zGzhcnF - Imgur.jpg

If the relationship between my collage and @shaka's photo is not immediately evident, that may be because you don't see what I saw in @shaka's picture. I saw shapes in the clouds. I saw fantastical, water-bound creatures. Look at the illustration below to see how these creatures evolved in my imagination.

@shaka's Template and My Fantastical Sea Creatures
shaka 128 cloud figures.jpg

The phenomenon of seeing something that others may not see, such as a face in a cloud, is called pareidolia. My friend @quantumg introduced this term to me, and it describes very well the way I am inclined to experience the environment. Does this happen to you?

Pareidolia: Creativity, or Psychosis?

Leonardo D'vinci wrote (from Leitner Studios Abstract Art:)

“If you look at any walls spotted with various stains or with a mixture of different kinds of stones, if you are about to invent some scene you will be able to see in it a resemblance to various different landscapes..."

On the other hand, the word pareidolia was coined by a German psychologist, Karl Ludwig Kahlbaum, in an 1866 dissertation on hallucinations. Kahlbaum and his contemporaries saw pareidolia as a symptom of psychosis.

Rorschach_blot_01 Hermann Rorschachsmall.png

First Inkblot in Rorschach Inkblot Test
Rorschach_blot_01 Hermann Rorschach.png
Credit: Hermann Rorshach. Public domain. According to several sources, including LiveScience, the Rorschach Inkblot Testa uses pareidolia to gain insight into the mind. (The accent picture used here was derived from Rorschach's first inkblot.)

Rorschach_blot_01 Hermann Rorschachsmall.png

Even today, there are studies that seek to show a correlation between schizophrenia and the tendency to express pareidolia.

So which is it? Creativity or psychosis? Happily (for those of us who experience pareidolia rather fluently), the great body of recent studies draws a relationship between 'seeing things' and creativity. One study, reported out of the University Neurorehabilitation at the University Hospital Inselspital, found a

greater fluency and originality of performance in the standard creativity tests...associated with greater fluency and originality of pareidolias. ...these results suggest that creative processes are involved in the production of pareidolias...

The study from University Hospital Inselspital is not an outlier. Many recent studies draw a relationship between creativity and pareidolias. As a matter of fact, one study, from Ruhr University Bochum, LWL-Universitätsklinikum, Bochum, Germany, found an inverse relationship between schizophrenia and pareidolias. The authors of that study state:

... patients with schizophrenia, in particular, had a significantly lower hit rate (identified significantly fewer pareidolias)..

This study found "clear positive correlations between pareidolia and high creativity, as well as personality traits such as impulsiveness/spontaneity, extraversion, and conscientiousness".

How do you feel about it? Are those studies (sometimes conflicting) relevant to your life? I don't think the studies tell us anything about ourselves. In my opinion, if we see things that aren't there and we know they are not there...we're OK :)

Making My Collage
I've already given a strong clue as to how I proceeded. Besides my imaginary creatures I needed fauna and flora from the 'real' world. These I happily borrowed from my friends in LMAC who contributed to LIL, the LMAC Image Gallery.

I hope you will recognize these images in my collage:

From @borjan I borrowed the fungus
borjan fungus.png

and the flower
borjan flower for blog.png

From @evagavilan2 I borrowed a slug that I turned into a fantastical worm
evagavilan3 insect worm2.png
From @muelli I borrowed shells that I altered to make them more fantastical
muelli shells for blog.png
Here's the way all those elements came together:
shaka 128v for blog.png

I used a combination of GIMP, Paint 3D and Paint to resize, color and format pictures. Also used the Neon filter and Ripple filter from GIMP to create effects, and Animation filter from GIMP to make layers.

LMAC, LIL, @shaka and the Team

Every week that I can, I create a collage for the LMAC collage contest, and yet I don't enter the contest. Anyone reading this blog can see that this experience is a creative opportunity for me. I invite everyone to join in, especially if you are not an artist, as I am not. I guarantee you will grow. Rules and procedures may be found here.

@shaka started this collage project a couple of years ago. At first it was his inspiration, his work and his insight alone that guided the community. In time, the original project grew so that a few people joined in to support him. @quantumg and @mballesteros today are invaluable to the continued success of the LMAC community.

LIL, from which I borrowed several images this week, is an outgrowth of LMAC. Everyone on Hive is invited to contribute to this public domain library. Everyone on Hive is welcome to borrow from the library. Rules and procedures may be found here.

Thank you for reading my blog. I wish everyone in the Hive community, and everyone, everywhere, a peaceful creative week.


I'm happy to say I saw the box 1 fish creature as soon as you said "If the relationship between my collage and @ shaka's photo is not immediately evident"!

Why the need to use 3 software? Isn't there any one that does it all?

Why not enter the contests? You don't like what games with winners and losers represent?

Hello @alexanderalexis,

Thanks for the visit. Even my husband saw the first one (after I pointed it out) and he is not quite as imaginative as I am. Very practical, realistic person (one of us has to be😆).

As for using three programs: one is enough. GIMP can do it all. I just don't know how to use all the features on there. Slowly I learn. GIMP is amazing.

Why don't I compete? I'm on the jury. That wouldn't be fair, would it? 😇

Actually, though, this is much more peaceful for me, as you have guessed. I never liked competitive games. Losing doesn't feel good, and winning isn't really a position I'm comfortable with either. This is perfect

Hope you are peaceful yourself. Hard to maintain the illusion these days....

Wow. If that's not truly creative power, gods must have just been lucky so far.
For me your collage is very special and beautiful exactly because it represents such a wonderfully creative act.
With your collage, you're in very best company with artists like Keith Larson, who takes very similar apophenic approaches to find inspiration for his works.
I feel this method is one of the most honest in art. Because the individual view of the artist comes even more to the surface and unveils the artists interesting mind.

The best thing with this gift of seeing things in things is also to be able to share this experience. Where only a beautiful glowing cloud was true for me once, I'm now able see what you see in it. Fantastic.

Great job!!!

Thank you my friend, @quantumg. Now all my readers know about that fascinating word/concept: Pareidolia :)

I just looked up Keith Larsen. You are right, I can relate, except he does art and I do whatever that is that I do 😆 You are continuing to expand my education. Thank you!

You are so very kind. It makes me happy when I meet your standard, which is quite informed and astute. I do agree about one thing you say: there is no artifice in this kind of expression. It is entirely intuitive...and great fun. No boundaries. No rules. Just imagination.

Hope you are having a peaceful week.

@agmoore and her fantastic animals. Magnificent digital art. Regards

Thank you @marcybetancourt for stopping by and for your generous comment. Throughout my childhood my mother would say, "Who would think of such a thing?" She didn't mean it as a compliment.😅 Here, I get to exercise that imagination and people actually have fun with it.

Don't you love Hive, and especially LMAC?

I'm in love of LMAC. This has been a place where I have been very free with my creations, and have met many fabulous users.
I have been very happy here. I've gotten to have fun, and do something I love.

Thanks for your contribution to the STEMsocial community. Feel free to join us on discord to get to know the rest of us!

Please consider delegating to the @stemsocial account (85% of the curation rewards are returned).

You may also include @stemsocial as a beneficiary of the rewards of this post to get a stronger support. 

It is really very, very kind of you to acknowledge and support my post. This is much appreciated.

Always fascinating to see forms within clouds, rocks or natural formations. Excellent word to learn and extremely interesting post!

Thoroughly enjoyed your interpretation.

Will try to remember pareidolia....

@tipu curate 2

Thank you so very much. And thank you for your generosity. That's really something. Much appreciated.

I love doing these collages. Sometimes they work out for me and sometimes they don't (that is, sometimes I am able to come close to creating what I imagine). This time I was satisfied.

I remember you said you were tempted to jump in once. Can't tell you how much I have learned. Even my spatial visualization has improved over the many months I have participated (anyway, I think so). Pareidolia...we've all experienced it and now we have a name for it :))

Thanks again for the visit, the comment and the generosity.

This turned out great, I see images but never attempted to place them into creative works.

One day if time allows I will attempt to start learning to put into motion, this has a fun finish to what your minds eye picked up.

Wow… I am totally puzzled here.

If the relationship between my collage and @shaka's photo is not immediately evident, that may be because you don't see what I saw in @shaka's picture.

I have tried and tried to get the connection, but finally resigned and decided to read the rest of the post to understand the relation between your collage and the original picture.

In addition, I didn’t know anything about pareidolias (I didn’t know this was even a word ;) ). That’s quite an interesting concept, especially when we raise the potential relationship with psychosis and creativity. What puzzles me most is that in (almost?) all these studies, the size of the sample is very small. The results are therefore subjected to large error bars.

We should hence be careful when raising any conclusive statement. As you wrote, maybe we should just focus on our feelings here ;)

Hi @lemouth. I'm so glad you are on the mend.

I appreciate your visit and am amused by your comment. I went back to the demonstration sheet and outlined what I imagined when I first saw the cloud. Look at the first image in each series (1, 2, 3) under the cloud. Does that help? What's funny is, once I see it, I can't 'unsee' it 😄

shaka 128 cloud figures for lemouth.png

After reading your comment about the size of the studies I went back and did some more reading (looking for larger studies). There really doesn't seem to be much we can dependably conclude from any of the readings. It seems to me that people find what they are looking for (mostly) in these studies. I found a bunch that address pareidolia in people with Parkinson's and Lewy Body dementia. These people are inclined toward experiencing hallucinations generally. There was one study (500 people) that found differences in gender and age. It seems time of day (according to this study) also influences the likelihood of experiencing pareidolia.

I think the inclination to see shapes and images that aren't there is merely a curiosity, unless an underlying pathology exists.

Fun concept, though, isn't it?

So glad you are feeling better.

Cheers, indeed.

I definitely understand how you extracted the components from the main image. Unfortunately, as long as I only look at the original image, my brain refuses to see those components :D

There was one study (500 people) that found differences in gender and age. It seems time of day (according to this study) also influences the likelihood of experiencing pareidolia.

Hmmm.... 500 people is still what I would classify as a small sample (7%-8% as a statistical error). That's some issue I have with many studies related to "softer science" (in contrast with basic or fundamental science; please don't be offended by the term): error propagation to the results. Doing so correctly would in fact often allow us to conclude to anything as well as to its contrary :)

I think the inclination to see shapes and images that aren't there is merely a curiosity, unless an underlying pathology exists.

I agree with this :)

Have a nice week!

Wow, this is great, you were able to see something different which others couldn't. I like how you made a special shape from the cloud. A great collage

Thank you, @dwixer. I am so happy you like it. This one was such a challenge when I first saw it, and then it all fell into place. Funny how the mind works, isn't it?

Have a great week my friend.

The mind can work in mysterious ways. I have been good, and I hope you're strong and is doing well?

I love the fact that you are able to create a unique collage. This is fantastic indeed

Thank you! I hope you join in the fun. I know nothing about art (although I'm learning😄)but find the exercise quite rewarding.

Thanks for the visit and the comment.

I just don't know the application I can use to make those collage look well

I use free applications: GIMP (which is a free download), Paint and Paint 3D. Sometimes I use a Lunapic filter, which is also free. @quantumg has a help workshop where he explains a lot of techniques and also answers questions. Here is a link to the Discord Channel where you can find these resources.

It takes time to learn how to use GIMP, but I don't know much about computers and don't have much technical expertise, and I learned.

Give it a try. It's fun!!

No problem I will surely give it a try

Fascinating @agmoore . I liked the colors of the collage. Plus everything I learned with that new word. One more for the vocabulary. Thanks for explaining how you did it

You are so nice to come by, @katleya. Thank you! I did work on the colors--the worm, the shells, and those neon swimming creatures. What I realize when I'm doing this is that I have complete freedom. This, I guess sums up the essence of art, even very amateur art.

Hope you have a great day, @katleya

This is a peaceful piece, like looking at an aquarium. I enjoyed your discussion of pareidolia. Under the influence of certain psychedelic chemicals, the inkblots actually transform into creatures and scenes right before your very eyes. They shift and move and morph and make sounds, they have tastes, odours, and strange sensations. You can create an entire world and universe where you live for thousands of years across multiple lifetimes, all in the space of a few minutes or even seconds. It is quite an intriguing phenomenon that tells us a lot about our consciousness, and yet in the scientific literature, there is only silence. I guess sometimes an inkblot is just an inkblot. :)

Hello my friend, @litguru. Thank you so much for coming by and commenting. I am not opposed to mind-altering, or enhancing drugs. If used judiciously these may be (have been for many people) a transformative experience. However, I really am extraordinarily sensitive to stimuli. Enhancing my experience of the environment might not be a good idea 😁

Unfortunately, the only research on this sort of experience has been done in a military environment (!) or in a casual, recreational setting. As is true with marijuana, there are no good studies. There are no metrics. This serves I think those who want to perpetuate the idea of a drug war. It also suits the pharmaceutical industry that wants to package chemicals they can sell to us.

Maybe someday we will be a more enlightened society.

Take care of yourself. Looking forward to reading more of your highly intelligent, creative blogs.

This serves I think those who want to perpetuate the idea of a drug war.

Canada is opening up and relaxing its war on psychedelic drugs, which I distinguish from harder and truly harmful drugs like fentanyl and heroin. It's about time because psychedelics are the telescopes/microscopes of consciousness. I brought up the topic because the psychedelic experience has been often been compared to a form of time-limited schizophrenia. Thus, if we understand what is happening during the psychedelic experience then we could perhaps better understand what is going on when someone is having a psychotic episode and develop interventions to peacefully guide the patient back to normality instead of just pumping them full of tranquilizers. The interesting thing about the visions and hallucinations of someone under the influence is that they actually believe that what they are seeing is real. They have suspended the rational and logic filters and opened up a faucet of sensations and perception. This can be positive (creatively, therapeutically, artistically, scientifically) or negative (scary, confusing, etc).

Maybe someday we will be a more enlightened society.

Or at the very least, more scientifically curious. :)

why the 20% beneficiary?

Does the community only vote if author sets a beneficiary to the community?

We have shut down Project Hope due to this abuse. Please reconsider this rule, if this is a rule.

Hello @azircon,
I wanted @shaka to respond to your question directly. I joined Hive (and its previous incarnation) as an older person and so the technical aspects of the platform are sometimes daunting for me. However, I am clear about the value that Hive, and LMAC as an extension, have for many, many people. It is not just a place to have fun, or invest. It is an economic lifeboat.

My participation in LMAC goes way back to maybe the 3rd or 4th round. The community allowed me to play at creating art (I've never been very good at this). After a while, LMAC started to grow and it was obvious that new members of Hive (especially those with limited language skills) found this community to be a ramp that allowed them to have a foothold on the platform. And, Hive was an essential source of income for them.

I became committed to seeing this community succeed. Basically, I'm a cheerleader. I comment on and upvote as many posts as I can, nominate finalists for the weekly prize, and answer/refer questions when these arise. Of course, I still enjoy being an active member of the community and creating collages whenever possible.

Artists do have an edge here, but I've seen artists who didn't catch on. If someone tries hard and makes a collage that 'speaks' to us, they have a shot at being in the final round and winning a nice prize. All of Hive votes on the finalists, so the outcome is never certain.

I know this response doesn't directly address your question (@shaka did that), but I hope it gives you an idea about the spirit of LMAC.


Hi @azircon, a pleasure to see you inquiring about the LMAC community.

Indeed we ask our community members to set the @lmac account as 20% beneficiary in their posts. It is important to note though that all beneficiary and curation rewards arriving at the lmac account are redistributed entirely to the participants of our weekly collage contest. This can easily be verified by checking the transaction history of the lmac community account. No cut taken by the community management. I didn’t look into the details but I guess this was different with Project Hope.

Hope this helps to dissolve any concerns at your end. Let me know anytime if you have further questions re the economic structure of the LMAC.


(I’m currently in a remote area with very limited bandwidth, hence my responses may be delayed.)

If all the benefactor rewards are being distributed then what is the point of setting a beneficiary, why the mandatory rule? Basically the community members are paying the commmunity members with an intermediary. What's the purpose of that?

I haven't investigated any abuse, or making any accusitions towards LMAC community. I am saying however, we have bad experiences with this beneficiary set up in the past. It can easily be turned into a voting circle and that has several negative outcomes.

In the following weeks I will keep an eye of the voting pattern and will let you know if I find any anomaly.

PS @shaka Why do you self-vote?

If all the benefactor rewards are being distributed then what is the point of setting a beneficiary

Absolutely, so let me clarify. The benefactor rewards are not just redistributed to all contributors (that would indeed make no sense) but instead enter the prize pool of our weekly collage contest and then are distributed to the winning participants . I’d like to point out that we are applying a rigorous multi-level approach in determining the winners to exactly prevent any abuse as good as possible: a five membered jury ( four permanent seats plus one weekly rotating community seat) are nominating 15 finalists each week. Finalists are then ranked in a community poll (in which all Hive can participate) to determine the winners and thus the actual distribution of the prizes , i.e. the benefactor rewards. The more participants in the poll the more robust the outcome obviously, so we would very much welcome larger accounts like yours participating in this poll.

We have around 180 - 200 contributions each week to either our collage contest or the LIL, a user generated image library which we offer as a service to all Hive. As you can imagine, this requires intense curation and also comes with actual costs to host our service. A service which we believe adds great value to the Hive ecosphere. All posting rewards which my account (@shaka) receives for the two weekly contest announcements (New Challenge & Winners) go to the @lmac-operations account and are used to run our operations and cover our expenses: 20% go to our three moderators, 30% to our developer, ~15% are reserved for hosting our web service and ~35% are accumulated to build our operational reserve. Supporting all this with my own vote is something I consider appropriate use of my stake. In addition to these two posts from my account, our weekly contest cycle comprises two more posts from the @lmac account (Final Poll & Top Picks LMAC trail). Posting rewards from these two posts, which I support with my vote too, either go to the contest prize pool (@lmac), our operations (@lmac-operations) or directly to the three top picks.

So this is the flow of rewards into and within the LMAC. It's all supposed to be fully transparent and verifiable. If you are committed to have a closer look yourself we would actually more than welcome that. If something doesn’t sit right with you I would be the first who would like to know. In fact, your inquiry already prompted us to consider publishing regular accounting reports (e.g. once per month with posting rewards either going to null or the DHF) so that nobody even needs to dive into transaction histories to follow the flow of rewards within the LMAC. We will look into this as soon as I’m back in my normal environment in about two weeks.

Your content has been voted as a part of Encouragement program. Keep up the good work!

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