Perception And Reality:the Issue Of The Real And The Imagined Critical Thinking Examples
Since time immemorial, people have always wondered about our way of feeling our surroundings and our environments. Artists, painters, and photographers have mimicked the human capacity for sight in the process of conveying a critical and emotional understanding of the human experience. Musicians and classical composers have sought to stimulate an audience’s capacity to hear successive vibrations made through instruments – the piano, the violin, a leaf – in order to capture a fleeting glimpse of artistry and activate certain feelings within the minds of listeners and a captive audience. And yet, questions still arise on the issue of trusting our senses. Can we, as human beings, really trust our senses and the interpretation of sensory data to give use an accurate view of the world? Do we really see the things that we see? Do we really hear whatever it is that we can hear, even if faint or silent? These questions are the concern of several areas of scholarship, such as psychology and biology. But, given a cursory inquiry into the matter, one can already conclude that human beings do, indeed, accurately perceive sensory information.
One reason for believing the accuracy of sensory information is because the judgments we often make in reliance of these information are often correct and true. For example, hearing a dog barking on the other side of a room gives us enough information to avoid entering the room, since we might get bitten. Gunshots are fairly predictable and accurate indicators of danger in any situation. Another reason is the confirmation by other people with equally reliable sensory organs. For example, two people who perceive an explosion through sight and hearing may be observed to have reliable sensory information. Finally, the accuracy of sensory information may be said to be valid because of our own testing and validation processes. A person who sees a book and feels it and smells it may be said to have an accurate perception of the book.
There are, of course, factors that contribute to the accuracy of sensory data. For one, the isolation of such sensory data may be considered (Rookes and Wilson, 2000). One single barking dog may be heard more clearly alone than when it is accompanied by a cacophony of barking dogs. A single red dot may be seen more clearly on a white surface then when it is depicted in a sea of colors. Another factor may be the capacity of our organs. A partially deaf individual would be hard-pressed to hear another person talking than a person with normal hearing. A legally blind driver also sees less than a person with 20/20 vision. A final factor that may be seen as affecting the accuracy of our perception would be our expectations. One would expect animal sounds in a zoo, for example, and more accurately perceive such sounds.
The importance of memory, too, must be underlined in this discussion. Take, for example, a Beatles song that has attached itself to a particular memory – whether good or bad, positive or negative. Whereas it is merely a song track for another individual, the song takes on an emotional significance to an individual who has attached such a track to a particular memory. Such is the effect of nostalgia, triggered by a particular perception information. The individual, in this case, does not only “hear” the Beatles track, but also remembers or is emotionally stimulated by the track itself, leading to a peculiar effect on perception (Goldstein, 2009).
Goldstein, E. (2009) Sensation and Perception. New York: Wiley.
Rookes, P. and Wilson, J. (2000) Perception: Theory, Development, and Organization. New York: Psychology Press.
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