A divergent approach to pareidolias—Exploring creativity in a novel way.

Diana, Lorenzo; Frei, Michael; Chesham, Alvin; de Jong, Denise; Chiffi, Kathrin; Nyffeler, Thomas; Bassetti, Claudio L.; Goebel, Nicole; Eberhard-Moscicka, Aleksandra K.; Müri, René M. (2021). A divergent approach to pareidolias—Exploring creativity in a novel way. Psychology of aesthetics, creativity, and the arts, 15(2), pp. 313-323. American Psychological Association 10.1037/aca0000293

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Pareidolias, the illusory perception of patterns like faces or animals in backgrounds or textures (e.g., clouds), may be a potentially interesting paradigm to assess creativity. The present study investigates the relationship between production of pareidolias, divergent thinking, and associative thinking. To analyze creative aspects of pareidolias a tablet-based task was devised, the Divergent Pareidolias Task (DPT), where participants were presented with photographs of natural landscapes and they were asked to produce pareidolias. Pareidolic outputs were analyzed in terms of fluency, flexibility, and originality. Creativity-related cognitive tasks (i.e., tasks assessing alertness, cognitive inhibition, and verbal intelligence) and a short interview assessing creative interests in everyday life were additionally administered. Regression analyses revealed that divergent thinking, in terms of fluency of the Alternative Uses Task significantly predicted fluency and originality of pareidolias produced in the DPT. Moreover, fluent and rarer associations in an Associative Fluency Task were predictive of fluent and original aspects of pareidolias in the DPT, respectively. Taken together, the results of this pilot study indicate the involvement of creative processes in the production of pareidolias and suggest that the DPT could represent a possible future way to investigate divergent aspects of creative cognition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > DCR Unit Sahli Building > Forschungsgruppe Neurologie
10 Strategic Research Centers > ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research > ARTORG Center - Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology
10 Strategic Research Centers > ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Health Sciences (GHS)

UniBE Contributor:

Diana, Lorenzo, Chesham, Alvin, Chiffi, Kathrin, Bassetti, Claudio L.A., Göbel, Nicole, Eberhard-Moscicka, Aleksandra Katarzyna, Müri, René Martin


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology




American Psychological Association




Angela Amira Botros

Date Deposited:

19 Feb 2020 10:16

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:33

Publisher DOI:






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