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

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The first known use of apophenia was circa 1980

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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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