There’s pareidolia which describes the phenomenon of your brain tricking you into seeing faces in every-day objects.

There’s also a (seemingly) related phenomenon of people believing in a theory so hard that they stretch the facts or even make them up just so that they fit the theory.

Does this phenomenon/behaviour have a name?

1 Answer 1


The phenomenon you describe is a type of cognitive bias. This particular bias of stretching facts to fit your theory is called confirmation bias, defined as

The tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions. In addition, individuals may discredit information that does not support their views. (here)


the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities. (here)

These definitions don't explicitly mention making up facts to fit one's theory, but any person who did this could certainly be said to be biased toward confirmation. This suggest that the term can also be used to describe the (possibly accidental) fabrication of "confirming facts".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.