Group Think, Pareidolia and Apophenia

Group Think

A phenomena that happens all around the world, everyday, is group think. According to Psychology Today, group think occurs… “when a group values harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation. It causes individual members of the group to unquestioningly follow the word of the leader and it strongly discourages any disagreement with the consensus”.

This term was coined by Irving Janis (1972). According to Janis, the following are symptoms of group think:

  1. Illusion of invulnerability: Creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks.
  2. Collective rationalization: Members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.
  3. Belief in inherent morality: Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.
  4. Stereotyped views of out-groups: Negative views of “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary.
  5. Direct pressure on dissenters: Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views.
  6. Self-censorship: Doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed.
  7. Illusion of unanimity: The majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous.
  8. Self-appointed ‘mindguards’: Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions.

Many of the United States presidents are often targeted as participants in group think. Read the following for a great example:

How Does This Tie In With The Occult?

I mention this today because, as I mentioned in regard to the YouTube phonies, the “paranormal community” is very quick to end debates regarding “ghost videos” instead of actual, well, science. Sometimes, the administrators of the page/ website/etc will even delete the comments of people saying “I feel as though this is fake because…” instead of actually having an intelligent discussion.

In many instances, people would rather agree to let the other person pretend those specks of dust are actually ghosts of their loved ones instead of specks of dust. If you scroll down to the aforementioned page, you’ll see an image I saw on Facebook in regards to a woman taking pictures in an old, dusty basement. She mentioned in the post her daughter had passed and she thought this was “her”. Although I cannot even begin to fathom such an awful loss, the truth is that picture is dust.

Even researchers can be swept up in the motion of “group think”. Here’s a fantastic example: hand-held voice or tape recorders. Many paranormal researchers use them to documents what they believe to be EVP’s. However, people do not realize some sounds “heard” on the tape/file are not actually real “disembodied” voices: it is a result of Pareidolia (a form of

Pareidolia Is A Form Of Apophenia

Pareidolia and Apophenia is our mind’s way of taking “chaos” and forming it into rational thought and/or objects. For example: remember hearing about people seeing the image of (what is considered to be) Jesus Christ on a piece of toast? That is apophenia. Think about this: we do not see with our eyes; we actually see with our mind. Our eyes just take in the stimuli (what we see) and our brain actually figures it out.

Pareidolia is the audio or “hearing” form. Our brains are pretty fantastic: we can see and hear strange things and our brain is the master that takes that information and makes something out of it.

Not to say the “strange” and “unusual” does not happen. Unfortunately, not everyone is truthful and sometimes, people try to trick others in order to gain something.



  1. I feel that I have an extraordinary gift. It sounds ridiculous but since attending Dali’s art museum in Spain I now see detailed faces and humans in all of life’s creations. In particular clouds mountains and planet earth etc. it’s an excessive form of pareidolia. I have searched the internet and there is no record of this being experienced before.
    I do have photographic evidence of what I now see.
    I look forward to hearing from you.


    Sent from my iphone


  2. I wonder if group think, pareidolia and apophenia, are survival instincts (no longer necessary in a modern society) which evolved out of the need for the herd to stick together to fight enemies, and for the individual to recognise a potential predator. So much of human behaviour seems to be a primitive response applied to a modern day scenario.

    And as someone who has been taking photos for over thirty years I still get weary trying to explain away orbs to people who don’t want to believe in the mundane problems with dust and the peculiarities of camera lenses!


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