apophenia

noun ap·o·phe·nia \ ˌa-pə-ˈfē-nē-ə \

Definition of apophenia

: the tendency to perceive a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things (such as objects or ideas)
  • What psychologists call apophenia—the human tendency to see connections and patterns that are not really there—gives rise to conspiracy theories.
  • —George Johnson
— compare pareidolia

First Known Use of apophenia

circa 1980

in the meaning defined above

See Words from the same year
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Medical Dictionary

apophenia

noun ap·o·phe·nia \ ˌa-pə-ˈfē-nē-ə \

medical Definition of apophenia

: the tendency to perceive a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things (such as objects or ideas)
  • The promise of the Data Age is that the truth really is in there, somewhere. But our age has a curse, too: apophenia, the tendency to see patterns that may or may not exist.
  • —Daniel Conover, The Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina)30 Aug. 2004
— compare pareidolia

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