Principles of Perception

Essay by psousaA-, June 2005

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Perceptions-Advantageous to Some,

Debilitating to others - TOK Essay; Topic number 7

The general definition of perception is obtaining knowledge through ones senses, meaning that you are aware and have an understanding of something through the use of your hearing and sight specifically. The basic ways of knowing are by using logic and reasoning, language, emotion, and perception. Perception is the only way of knowing that by observing you relate yourself to your environment. When you observe things through hearing or sight your brain interprets what you observe. Your brain bases its interpretation of prior experience to connection new knowledge with old knowledge. Perception contains many flaws though. Perception has some inherent problems such as biased toward past experience, social and cultural conditioning, spatial familiarity, learning structures, language dependency, filtering, and self perception. Also perception is inhibited by biological constraints as well as optical illusions.

One example is when differences in past experience cause people to interpret the meaning of artwork differently.

This aspect of perception allows artwork to be so subjective because every person has different past experiences. Although perception is a highly important way to gather and understand information, sometime it will act as a barrier that slants the viewers understanding away from truth. The term bias is closely associated with perception. Our prior history is the basis of our understanding. When we try to fit new knowledge into the frame of our history, we turn objective information into subjective information. Thus, events that a knower recognizes from past experiences create an expectation of what is to come. What is actually there is blurred by what the knower wants to see and expect to see. Therefore it is your mind and perception that has played a trick on you by creating a predisposition on your brain to think...