“Perception is merely a reality filtered through the prism of your soul.” – Christopher A. Ray
John Locke, an enlightenment thinker, with the help of his experiments made it clear that the perception involves dozens of the mechanism for actively shaping stimuli rather than just passively receiving them. At the time of birth, the human mind is just like a blank slate which is ready to be written and get filled over by sensory experience. Whereas, neuroscientists Beau Lotto presents a completely different view from the Lokean stance. According to him, the meaning on our perception is imposed by the human mind and the outside world is the true blank slate. Further, he added that the perception is not what our eyes and ears tell us and instead of this, it is what our brain makes us see and hear.
The main task of human perception is to amplify and strengthen the sensory inputs to be able to perceive, to orientate and to act quickly, specifically and efficiently. We perceive patterns, objects, people and possibly events in our world. The way of interpreting and organising the stimuli present in our environment is perception. The world of an individual revolves around their own ways of perception. Every individual interprets the information in his/her own way. There is a difference in understanding and interpretation of the same situation for the same group of people. This is probably a considerable because of individual differences. The information in the environment around us is present in the form of bits and pieces. Our sense organs receive that information in an electrochemical form, then our brain convert those bits in an organised a well as structured pattern and then, gives it a form of meaningful information.
Deep processing of recognising and organising stimuli in meaningful information is perception and we perceive things in visual, auditory, olfactory, haptic, and gustatory forms. Among all the other forms, visual and auditory are the primary modes through which we take in the information from our surroundings. Whenever we ask the shape of a particular cloud to children, their responses are most prominently to animals, cartoons, or toys. Whereas when the same question is asked to an adult, they will respond quite differently because an adult has more experience than a child in terms of understanding and knowledge the concepts. Our conscious perception of the world is dynamic.
Richard Gregory’s visual assumption theory, the visual perception relies on the top-down processing. This happens when we form our perception beginning with the greater experiences, expectations, beliefs and past knowledge, which helps people to guess. It is already known that, for the identification of any stimulus, either exact or similar matching (template matching), or stimulus matching (featural analysis) is required that is why some psychologists believe that the analysis of a whole into its parts underlies the basic processes used in perception (prototype matching).
Sometimes it is necessary for us to change the perception to achieve success in a better and easier way. Zia Mody is an Indian corporate lawyer and businesswoman at the conference acknowledged that it may not be possible for women to achieve a perfect work-life balance, but a slight change in perception and added that “I really think, we can have it all if we can conquer the sense of guilt for trying to make it. Adjust it; don’t overdo it.” By bringing up a slight change, the result is a proud parent, a proud leader, and proud children who will grow up as very well said by Edward de Bono:
“If you can change your perception, you can change your emotion and this can lead to new ideas”
In Indian society, parents are usually concerned about their daughters and women joining workforce because of the teasing and sexual harassment they face, not only at the workplace but also while travelling. Kiran Mazumdar- Shaw, chairman and MD of Biocon Limited once said, “It is about building a trusting environment and creating awareness. It is about men and women realising what they need to understand about working in the same workplace. Sometimes, it is perception and perceived sexual harassment is also not corrected. People blow them out of proportion as they misunderstand things. In an organisation, as a policy just make sure of reporting things which are not very good for the system and people behave responsibly.”
Some people succeed even under stressful situations while others are overwhelmed by such conditions. Perception is one of those variables which have been found to be relevant moderators and differentiates people in terms of their ability to handle stress. People sometimes tend t react in response to their perception of reality rather than to reality itself. Therefore, the perception moderates the relationship between a potential stress condition and a person’s reaction to it. Let us take an example of two employees, for say Mr N and Mr H. N fears that he will lose his job because his company is laying off personnel may be perceived by him as an opportunity of getting a large severance allowance and starting his own business. So, potential stressor does not lie in objective conditions; it lies in a person’s interpretation of those conditions.
“It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves.” – Carl Jung
Weiskrantz (1986) conducted a study called ‘Blind Sight Phenomenon’ on his patient D.B, who was blind to the entire left side of his visual field as his enlarged blood vessels in his right visual cortex was removed by surgery. D.B was kept under controlled visual settings and was presented with a variety of stimuli to his left and right visual fields and whenever stimuli were presented to his left visual field, D.B reported as seeing nothing. Then, Weiskrantz used a forced choice technique and the subject’s performance was quite surprising under these conditions. He gave more information about the stimuli and these results were true. In spite of his lack of visual awareness, he was able to process some information about the stimulus. Perception experts say that ‘we see much less of the world than we think we do.’ We ourselves create a mental model of our surroundings by stitching together some bits of visual information which are gathered while shifting attention from place to place. According to Proffit:
“Perception is a dynamic process which is helpful for our survival by analysing the pros and cons of any situation or events”
It is not hard to see things as they really are, it is simply a matter of tearing down walls, ridding oneself of defences and presumption, rendering oneself vulnerable, an idiot, a fool. But it is not easy to see things as they really are, because it is painful, it is real, it requires a response, it is an incredible commitment.
“To go nine-tenths of the way is to suffer at every moment utter madness. To go all the way is to become sane.” –Paul Williams, Das Energi