I'm looking for a term that applies to the kind of mindset/thought process where someone sees a couple of similarities between two things, then decides that 'They're the same' or 'They just copied each other!'

I thought it was 'lazy pattern matching' but that seems to be a software term, 'false pattern recognition' might have been what I was thinking of: Seeing patterns that aren't there. I'm just not sure if it still applies when the two things do have similarities, but also enough differences that it seems a little quick to judge them as being the same. 'Thin-slicing' seemed like it might be applicable as well.

A couple of examples:

When the video game Nioh came out some people described it as a rip-off of The Witcher because the main character in both games has white hair and wields a sword.

Jeff Goldblum tells stories in interviews of how he gets a lot of encounters with strangers who think they look like him. Sometimes they just turn out to be men in glasses.

Is there a better term for these comparisons than 'false pattern recognition'?


Availability heuristics is one type of cognitive bias for judging frequency and probability. The more available and relevant information there is, the more likely you are to judge the convergence of the events. Of course, advances in communications technology make so much information more available, so if you hear about something in the news now and then go look up the keywords, you'll find a lot of miraculous animal rescues happening at the same time and just as many results for horrible traffic accidents. Then when people reinforce their own ideas with self-affirming research, you get confirmation bias.

Synchronicity refers to "meaningful coincidences" that are not causal. That usually has deeper implications for the people involved, like a collective unconscious.

Synchronicity and apophenia might be more conspiracy theory than what you're looking for, but these are all types of pattern recognition where correlation does not lead to causation.

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