Pareidolia in Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder

Eid G. Abo Hamza*, Szabolcs Kéri, Katalin Csigó, Dalia Bedewy, Ahmed A. Moustafa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


While there are many studies on pareidolia in healthy individuals and patients with schizophrenia, to our knowledge, there are no prior studies on pareidolia in patients with bipolar disorder. Accordingly, in this study, we, for the first time, measured pareidolia in patients with bipolar disorder (N = 50), and compared that to patients with schizophrenia (N = 50) and healthy controls (N = 50). We have used (a) the scene test, which consists of 10 blurred images of natural scenes that was previously found to produce illusory face responses and (b) the noise test which had 32 black and white images consisting of visual noise and 8 images depicting human faces; participants indicated whether a face was present on these images and to point to the location where they saw the face. Illusory responses were defined as answers when observers falsely identified objects that were not on the images in the scene task (maximum illusory score: 10), and the number of noise images in which they reported the presence of a face (maximum illusory score: 32). Further, we also calculated the total pareidolia score for each task (the sum number of images with illusory responses in the scene and noise tests). The responses were scored by two independent raters with an excellent congruence (kappa > 0.9). Our results show that schizophrenia patients scored higher on pareidolia measures than both healthy controls and patients with bipolar disorder. Our findings are agreement with prior findings on more impaired cognitive processes in schizophrenia than in bipolar patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number746734
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


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