Finding patterns in randomness.

I recently saw season three of Stranger Things on Netflix with my partner, and at one point we both wanted to pause the episode just to learn a word the nerdy professor used: Apophenia.

Apophenia is the tendency for us to find patterns in random noise. Like seeing faces in clouds, or believing we can predict a coin toss.

Originally the word was intended to denote the more extreme behaviours of finding patterns, for instance delusions in connections with schizophrenia. But I think it’s useful in all sorts of situations. Especially for me, as a designer, when I track and observe human behaviour.