The Stock Market is a Pareidolia Machine

If you don’t know what pareidolia is, don’t be hard on yourself, because it’s likely that your spellchecker doesn’t know either.

Basically pareidolia means that you, as a human, tend to create significance out of events when there is none.

In other words, you can be easily fooled by randomness if you aren't careful.

And when it comes to the stock market, pareidolia can lead to financial ruin.

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examples of pareidolia

Let’s look at some famous examples of pareidolia that exist in nature, and then tie it back to the stock market.

God is that you: Pareidolia

God is that you?

You might see some faces in clouds; that’s pretty common.

Kind of make a beard out there, lips, nose, two eyes.

The face on Mars: Pareidolia

I'm not going to say aliens, but ALIENS!!!

You might remember this infamous Mars picture; the shadows hit it just right.

It’s got a face, two eyes and a mouth, but then you see it from a different angle and there is nothing - this picture fed conspiracy theorists for a very long time.

You are a pattern recognition machine, and come on, who doesn't love Jesus toast!

The "bread" of Christ? Pareidolia

The "bread" of Christ?  😉

In the Stock market pareidolia Gets Dangerous Fast!

Pareidolia has wiped out the majority of traders in the stock market.

I’ve mentioned this stat again and again:

It doesn’t matter if you follow technical or fundamental analysis 95% of traders lose money.

It’s not because you're undisciplined, it’s because you’re not using the right tools.

What does everyone like to jabber on about in stock market forums, CNBC, around the water cooler at work and in books written 50 years ago by some dead "guru"?

Technical analysis, “head and shoulders patterns”, “double-tops”, “cup-in-handle” patterns…

It's all very easy to see on a computer screen, just like looking at clouds in the sky.

Unfortunately, when you start doing things like writing computer programs to test these patterns, these ideas quickly break down.

How do you tell a computer what a head and shoulder pattern is?

What’s exactly is a double top, what’s a cup and handle?

What even is a candlestick when you can make them in any random time-frame?

10 People, 10 Different Answers

It’s all shades of grey when you want it to be black and white, especially when it comes to risking real money.

The stock market is a mean reverting market where you want to buying dips, because most of the time the markets are going to chop around.

You're going to see tons of patterns in the noise when you look at your computer screen.

Stock patterns are like a new car- you see it everywhere, right?

stock market patterns Pareidolia

Aren't head 'n shoulders supposed to be bad?

Look For Things That Are More Basic

You must assume that most of the stuff you see this is just random.

If you start looking for all these complex patterns you’re only going to get maybe a handful of trades per year.

And there is no way in hell you’re going to be able to get any significance out of those patterns whatsoever.

All technical and fundamental analysis breaks down at a certain point.

That certain point is called testing.

It’s called using the scientific method instead of using your eyeballs to do the judging.

We humans do a lot of things right, but we also do a lot of things wrong.

And trading is one of them.

Start connecting the dots, and start translating your ideas into computer code before you risk a single dime on the latest trading idea du jour.

Instead of applying your mental prowess to find shapes and mystical meanings in grilled cheese sandwiches, look for things that are more basic and statistically significant.

Pareidolia Conclusion: 

  • You are designed to be a pattern recognition machine
  • But you are fooled by randomness every day
  • Being fooled by patterns in the stock market leads to ruin
  • Use a computer, and not a crayon
  • If you use technical analysis to trade stocks you're better off going to a casino (at least you get free drinks at a casino)

About the Author

Hello, I'm Kurt Bruch and I'm the Relaxed Trader guy writing most of the stuff on this website. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments on my posts. I love talking to fellow traders. Remember if you can't test it you shouldn't trade it!

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