Perceptions – Aren’t that obvious

02 Mar

The great question of perception is: “Why do things look the way they do?”

At first the question seems almost silly. We are tempted to answer, “Because things are they way they are.” It would seem that tall things look tall because they are tall. And distant things look distant because they are distant. On the other hand, why does the Moon look larger just above the horizon than it does when it’s overhead? It hasn’t gotten any bigger, or any closer. If a series of disconnected dots are arranged in the pattern of, say, the letter F, it looks like the letter, not a bunch of disconnected dots—which, it actually is. visual images on your retina are upside down.

There are two phenomena – Sensation : the raw data of experience and Perception : the organization and the meaning we give to primitive information. It can be said with some degree of confidence that we use sensory information to create a psychological world. Kurt Koffka (1886–1941), one of the founders of Gestalt psychology, said that there is a distinction between the geographical world and the psychological world. The geographical world is the actual world “out there,” the world as defined and described by physics. The psychological world is the world “in here,” the world as experienced by the subject. Although common sense usually says it’s the so-called “real world” or physical world that determines our behavior, it can be argued that common sense isn’t sufficiently analytical. We generally behave in terms of what we perceive to be true, not necessarily in terms of what is actually true. If ice is thin in the physical world, and it is solid in your psychological world, you are likely to skate on it. And, of course, you may make a serious mistake as a result.


Posted by on March 2, 2010 in Psychology, Random, Readings, Thoughts


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3 responses to “Perceptions – Aren’t that obvious

  1. aniruddha pathak

    March 3, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    its the world inside me that is the real world..just a matter of perception 🙂

  2. Nikhilesh

    March 31, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    “We generally behave in terms of what we perceive to be true, not necessarily in terms of what is actually true.”

    This perception that there is an actual truth distinct from the perceived truth, is itself a perceived truth.

    If you think a little more deeply, you’d begin to realize that nothing can be known about the actual truth – because whatever is known – is known because it becomes the part of perceived truth. And then you begin to question whether a thing called actual truth even exist.

    • Aditi

      April 2, 2010 at 11:53 AM

      Pretty Correct!


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