The experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data. The term was coined in 1958 by Klaus Conrad, who defined it as the unmotivated seeing of connections accompanied by a specific experience of an “abnormal meaningfulness.”

Conrad originally described this phenomenon in relation to the distortion of reality present in psychosis, but it has become more widely used to describe this tendency in healthy individuals without necessarily implying the presence of neurological or mental illness.

see also:

associative-indexing
paranoia

Links

wikipedia: Apophenia

wikipedia: The-23-enigma