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It's where something insignificant is perceived as significant. It typically is a vague, obscure image or sound that is interpreted as being something more. Examples include seeing images of Jesus Christ in burn markings on a piece of toast or seeing the man on the moon. In practice the Rorschach inkblot test uses pareidolia to gain insight into a person's mental state. The ink blots alone are designed to be insignificant images but the responses they illicit in people are representative of the significance that the person's perception places on the images.
Matrixing is the term the Ghost Hunters use to describe the misidentification of something ordinary as something unusual. It comes into play most often when people take photographs and spot something in the picture they are sure was not there when the photo was taken. Often, it is a face or figure and seems to be human.
Why Does Matrixing Happen?
One explanation is that recognizing other humans, and the faces of parents, is the first skill a baby learns. Pattern recognition of this sort is also a survival tool, giving the earliest humans a way to spot predators in hiding. The skill is so fundamental that, when presented with a random set of patterns the human brain attempts to make sense of what it sees. If it can possibly resolve that random pattern into a familiar object or image, it will.