like when Tom is hungry he sees jerry as a hot dog. When you are searching for something every other thing appears that it is the very thing you are searching for.


So as suggested in the comment here is what I want exactly:

I want to give title to this event which happened: On 31st December as I looked into an old message which my friend had sent me, I got surprised as to when he sent me a Happy New Year message, when suddenly I realized that it was written "Happy to Hear"

  • 1
    It's a perceptual bias; arguably, it's a confirmation bias.
    – Erik Kowal
    Jan 1, 2016 at 11:28
  • When and how will you use this word? Can you show us an example sentence? The following is the rule of this community. Questions on choosing an ideal word or phrase must include information on how it will be used in order to be answered. For help writing a good word or phrase request, see: About single word requests. Please edit your question accordingly.
    – user140086
    Jan 1, 2016 at 11:38
  • You just seem to have misread the text! What you have described with Tom & Jerry and in your EDIT are two different things entirely.
    – BiscuitBoy
    Jan 1, 2016 at 12:38
  • antipsychotic medication compliance. haha, I'm kidding. Sometimes I slip into lucidity naturally after eating fava beans.
    – Mitch
    Jan 1, 2016 at 16:53
  • @BiscuitBoy I thought the original text and the EDIT match, on 31st Dec when there is a hype of new year everywhere you tend to read "Happy to Hear" as the new year message, in other normal days you have least chances of making this mistake
    – shabby
    Jan 1, 2016 at 18:03

3 Answers 3


I'm not a psychologist or a psychiatrist, but this sounds like it fits the term perceptual distortion, particularly the variant termed self-fulfilling prophesy on slide 21 in the link.

From montofacto.com:

Perceptual distortion: Lack of correspondence between the way a stimulus is commonly perceived and the way an individual perceives it under given conditions.


This is called a mirage. merriam-webster

an optical effect that is sometimes seen at sea, in the desert, or over a hot pavement, that may have the appearance of a pool of water or a mirror in which distant objects are seen inverted

  • but mirage is also observed by a person who is not thirsty, I want to know the concept which is only observed by a thirsty person for example.
    – shabby
    Jan 1, 2016 at 11:10
  • If it is not mirage, I think the next best word I can think of is, phantasm which also happens to be a synonym of mirage.
    – Abulurd
    Jan 1, 2016 at 11:15
  • Phantasm is defined as: >a figment of the imagination; an illusion or apparition
    – Abulurd
    Jan 1, 2016 at 11:16
  • Isn't that what I just did?
    – Abulurd
    Jan 1, 2016 at 12:13
  • I just tried to guide you. Hope you didn't take it personally. And you need to put @ before a display name like @rathony to ping them. Good luck!
    – user140086
    Jan 1, 2016 at 12:35

Perceptual projection and attribution (or misattribution)

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