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Am I Seeing This Right?



Perception interests me so much. That's because we see what we are conditioned to see by our experiences up to this point, and by our mindset.  What picture do you see here, the old woman or the young woman?  Keep looking at it to see another perception, and later below, do you see the vase or the faces?  It depends on your perception.   

By mindset I mean that whatever thoughts occupy your mind regularly will influence how you feel, and your feelings will dictate your behaviour.  So for example, if you are negative most of the time, you will be pre-disposed to a negative mindset, and will tend to see the world as hostile, and the people in it as potentially dangerous.  Fear drives you, and your ears will ***** up if there is bad news, forebodings and warnings.   If on the other hand you have trained yourself to be positive and attract positive things into your life, you will not be attuned to hear the negatives, but will instead ***** up your ears if there's a chance of fun to be had, or a boost in the economy, or a good film (instead of a weepy one), and will choose positive friends who will reinforce the ideas you have about the world being a relatively good, safe and enjoyable place.


An experiment that I found interesting was done by the police, who wanted to look at why witnesses who came forward saying they had witnessed a crime, did not seem to see the same things, and their statements were often at odds with each other.  People were invited to watch a police video of a violent crime and the participants (audience) had to write down their impressions immediately after the video ended.  What was discovered was that people did not see what others saw, they had an individual view of the world according to their perception rather than reality, and what their pre-disposing mindset was.  So the audience member who was fanatical about owning the latest cool trainers noticed the criminals' trainers, and was able to say that one of them was quite unusual.  The art student noticed exactly what all the people were wearing, and even identified an unusual fabric or two which could be helpful in tracking the men.  There was a nurse, and she was interested in the injuries, noting the time they occurred, and how long the victims had been bleeding for and knocked out, as she knew these factors were time critical.  Another audience member was mad on cars, and his mindset made him notice them above all else; he reeedl off the makes and models, as well as engine size, unusual wheel trims, colour, and number plates.  An older lady noticed a gripper (handicapped aid) in the house because her relative also had one.  Other audience members noticed the hair, and details such as moustache, and food left on the table.  It was so interesting, because no two people said exactly the same thing.  Fascinated me!

javeachica javeachica 56-60, F 5 Responses Dec 13, 2010

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mind or mental mind set is decides what you think you see.
This why mindfulness or "living int he present moment" is important. By practicing tantra or yoga or mindfulness meditation humans can achieve this. For an example a pain can be pleasurable and the experience will decide weather it is painful or pleasurable.

Yes, our perception determines whether we like that pain or we don't, and confusingly sometimes we do in certain circumstances, but would hate it while cycling or shopping!

I wish everyone was as perceptive as you!

people seem to believe that if you don't see things as they do -- especially something as clinical as a movie -- that you are daft or worse, that you are lying. i am one of the children always accused of lying, when i was telling the absolute truth, but being so young, i did not have the experience or vocabulary to describe it in terms others expected or understood. for instance, i once told a girl that the kitchen in my apartment had no window, and she said, "that's obviously a lie -- all kitchens have windows" and we argued t his point. then i discovered that this slightly older girl interpreted the word "window" as any hole in the wall through which air moved -- in other words, a ventilation opening, and in our apartment block, all kitchens and bathrooms had either a window or a ventilation access. neither of us was wrong, and neither of us were lying. but it caused a lot of issues in school the following year! <br />
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humans also remember things better if they are allowed to remember a few things first. a very public example: this was highlighted during the anita hill testimony during the clarence thomas senatorial hearings -- she remembered things, on top of other memories, but was accused of lying and embellishing, in order to harm thomas. in fact, it seems humans don't remember everything at once, and one memory is a trigger or pathway to another. the poor woman, whatever her faults, was labeled a troublemaker and liar, when she was simply doing her duty.<br />
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thank you for YOUR perceptions!

Kyosaku,<br />
What a wonderful post, thank you. Your depth of understanding had so many colours in it for me; That is my perception, physically colours may not be your thing but in this element you more than make up for that 'deficit'. I am so interested in all you say, and you say it so well.<br />
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I note that your students have difficulty seeing the second image once they have been shown the first, which goes to show the power of the mindset. With great respect, I don't agree about perceptions and the sun. Prior to telescopes we had one perception, and post telescopes we had another perception to reflect our increased understanding of how earth relates to the sun. This doesn't seem an arguement against perception to me (or maybe I have missed the point).<br />
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You mention other animals who are supposedly inferior yet have their own perceptions every bit as interesting as ours. I thought you might like the perception of one of the great apes who was taught to talk, specifically to (deaf) sign and was very fluent. Her perception of spectacles was that they were not spectacles but "eye hats", and that the ring on someone's hand was not a ring but a "finger bracelet" for example. I can't remember her name, you may know of this work?<br />
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I am glad you found the witness study as interesting as I did and that it may help your students. Finally, I absolutely loved the quotes, and have Wayne Dwyer's 'Pulling Your Own Strings', I have found him an inspiration. I hope very much we can be friends?

I really enjoyed reading your perceptions of the perception. In my work teaching people who work with troubled children, I use a cowboy/old man ambiguous image, like the old lady/girl you included. I chose it because most of my students are familiar with the ladies. To prepare for this I randomly hand out drawings that clearly represent one of the perceptions of the image, and give time to study the images without sharing. Then I project the ambiguous image. <br />
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Once programed, a lot of people have a very hard time seeing the other image. A very small group are actually able to see both images when I tell them that there is another figure, cowboy or old man, there. I have had two students over the years that could not see the other figure even with the specific drawing superimposed on the ambiguous one.<br />
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There is another element to this game. I have some one who sees it one way try to describe it, verbally, to someone who sees it the other way, so that they can see it. It almost never works. However, when I ask someone who can clearly see both figures to describe it to someone who can't, they almost always succeed and using similar devices. They are able to describe features that are common to both characters and where features meet. In the old lady/girl example they might say, "the point of the girl's chin, is the end of the old lady's nose."<br />
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Through an accident of birth, I learned early in life (about 12), that perception and reality are not necessarily the same thing. I am 35% color blind, typical red/green deficit. When I got into a serious squabble with my brothers at the dinner table, over the color of the gray car dad brought home to fix, mom got me to the eye doctor. It was an epiphany to be sure. I realized that I couldn't see that the car actually was green, just like they argued.<br />
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So I learned, perceptions are not always accurate or real; there are instruments, including the perceptions of others that can help extend our perception; And, by extension, that opinions are not facts. A very important lesson for anyone who's work involves making assessments about other people. It is important to remember the biases that color my perceptions, lest i forget that my sense of another person may totally inaccurate...<br />
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As you may have figured out by now. I don't agree that perceptions are everything. I believe that great advances have been made by questioning our perceptions. After all, the sun finally stopped orbiting the earth when perception was extended by the telescope. Human perception is singularly limited compared to many of the animals we see as our inferiors. <br />
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I really appreciated your desc<x>ription of the witness study. It would work well in my classes on reporting significant incidents. It also supports my own belief that the only way I can acquire a truly capture a complete world view, is by listening to others with the knowledge that their perceptions are as valid as my own. Sometimes it is as small a difference as where we were standing, our viewing point. For me, it is the path towards being able to embrace the diversity of the human experience.<br />
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I don't remember where the quote comes from but it is so appropriate here. "We see the world not as ti is, but as we are." Another, along the same lines, “Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.”~ Wayne Dyer<br />
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Thank you again for posting this. I hope you will find my own comments a suitable addition to the topic.