- Jan 28, 2011
- Costa Rica
- Basic Beliefs
- Empiricist, ergo agnostic
People See God on Grilled Cheese Because They Want To Say Scientists
People see religious iconography in items ranging from grilled cheese to bird faeces and dogs' bottoms because they need moral justice, claims a new study.
The paper, published in the journal Cognition, explains that the psychological phenomenon known as "pareidolia" (of which the "man in the moon" is the most famous example) is enhanced by the presence of moral content.
"Over the course of three experiments, we found that participants correctly identified strings of letters as words more often when they formed moral words (69% accuracy) than when they formed non-moral words (65%)," the study said.
"This suggested that moral content gave a 'boost' to perceptually ambiguous stimuli — a shortcut to conscious awareness. We call this phenomenon the 'moral pop-out effect.'"