Apophenia is a cognitive phenomenon. It is the experience of seeing patterns, random connections or meaningless data. It is the ability of the human psyche to grasp the relationship in random information. For example, we tried to write completely random texts without any logical meaning and then to ask people what they thought. Most psychologists agree that this Apophenia exists to some extent in each of us. It is a passion of the human mind
In short, it consists of the unconscious action of finding meaning or arriving at a conclusion that starts from incomplete information or coincidences. It is an attempt by the human being to find meaning for what he does not know. For psychologists It is understood as an error of perception, In statistical terms, It can be classified as an I-type error.
Causes of Apophenia
The human brain is constantly searching for non-random events and patterns: that is its nature – the desire to see where it is missing. However, in some cases – such as schizophrenia – this ability of the brain is transformed into a slowly anxiety, persecution, interception and other illusions that arise in the patient’s head, perceived as strangers themselves.. This particular feature of brain activity can be called apophonia.
The cause of pathological apophoria may be a combination of several factors that cause brain activity disorders. It may be:
- frequent stress, alcohol abuse or drug addiction, taking certain medications;
- Dysfunction of the neurotransmitters in the brain;
- Hereditary predisposition (if someone has suffered from schizophrenia, delusional conditions in the family, there is a risk that similar diseases, including apophenia, will occur in other generations).
There are a number of factors that may favor the development of apophenia:
- Age after 60 years;
- extended absence without sleep;
- systemic chronic diseases;
- Diseases of the nervous system;
- frequent visits to hospitals, long lengthy illnesses;
- severe injury;
- chronic intoxication;
- Disturbance of the endocrine system;
- Lack of vitamins in the body.
Real Life Example of Apophenia
Imagine you’re walking alone in the woods, then something behind the grass. Is it just the sound of wind or wild animals that are looking for prey? Your choice will determine your life and death.
If you think the sound behind the grass as a beast but it turns out to be just the sound of the wind, you have made a Type I error in the sense. That’s where you find a pattern that does not exist. You associate (A) the grass sound with (B) a dangerous beast, but in this case A is not related to B. No harm. You shy away from the grass, become more alert, and look for other paths through the forest.
If you think the sound behind the grass is just the wind but it is a beast, you have made a Type II mistake in the sense. There you have missed the actual pattern. You failed to associate A with B, and in this case A was associated with B.
For the diagnosis of pathological apophoria, it is often easy to consult a patient. The doctor clarifies some important points for the diagnosis:
- Presence of diseases and injuries;
- Use of alcohol, drugs or medications;
- Stability of the mental state of the patient.
To clarify the condition of the body, the doctor can appoint:
- Blood and urine tests (to exclude inflammatory processes in the body);
- Blood tests to assess the balance of vitamins and trace elements in the body;
- a blood test for sugar.
If the doctor suspects a disease that could cause the development of a pathological apophoria, then he will perform the following studies:
- Tomography – to exclude tumor processes;
- ECG – to assess the performance of the heart;
- Encephalogram – to assess the condition of the brain.
It may also be necessary to diagnose the endocrine system, kidneys and liver
Treatment of Apophenia
If the cause of apophoria is an organic injury to the brain caused by chronic intoxication or trauma, the doctor will first appoint medicines to relieve the underlying condition.
If the diagnosis indicates the presence of mental disorders, antipsychotics may be prescribed – for example, Triftazine, Aminazine and other similar medications. Such drugs are blockers of dopamine receptors in brain structures. However, in some cases, such drugs may trigger the development of neurolepsia. To achieve this you should use a medicine like Cycladol at the same time..
Prevention of Apophenia
There is no specific prevention of apophenia. In families where people with an increased risk of apopheny develop, it is recommended to maintain a soft, calm aura, with the construction of strong, mutually respectful relationships between members of the household. Close people should avoid conflicts, use no violence, do not start scandals, and do not resort to assault.
Everyone has to learn to ignore stressful situations, resolve conflicts and solve them only peacefully.
In order to separate patients, when the first symptoms of pathology are discovered, the doctor may prescribe antipsychotics in small amounts for prophylactic purposes and only for a short time.
Positive moments in prevention are:
- Maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle;
- creative activity;
- Presence of friendly relations with the surrounding people;
- Desire to learn new things;
- social activity.