Educación, Psicología & Ciencia

Oh dear… It´s all about perception!

4 comentarios

First impressions:

I used to fight against stereotypes
Not only bigoted people use stereotypes
Believe it or not, we all have a biased view of this world
Do you recognize your biases?
A part of me winced; our camera has only ONE perspective!
We are so limited! How can we survive?
This article will be terribly boring…
It´s not about life, neither about stereotypes
It´s all about cognition

Are you still here?

I imagine myself being a psychologist in 1900, or even before. I am not sure about how could have been my practice, given I am not a wizard, seer, sorcerer nor an enchanter. After 1909 I likely would have told to someone – Tell it about your mother! Even though I am not 44 years old and my surname isn´t Freud, I am not diagnosing hysteria, neither overly worried about sexuality or our early imprints. In fact, to talk using this jargon makes me feel extremely presumptuous, still in my late twenties and being such daring. I have read somewhere that before being old and wise; you must to be young and stupid. I would add “a bit presumptuous”, at least in one area/field/thing.

As my mentor used to say, go “to the crux of the matter”; I´m coming. There are a few stereotypes about psychologists which are actually true. Pure constructivism; I will focus on “pet phrases” that we tend to use How does that make you feel? Can we dialogue about this? Let´s bring back to the room, Let´s get in touch with your inner child (Okay, I never told this but sounds stylish). I lately have surprised myself telling… – It´s all about perception! Think of all the ways in which you perceive the world around you.

  • That´s it? [The allegory of “half glass full- half glass empty” sometimes isn´t enough]
  • But… What´s perception? [knock-knock]
  • Are you talking about sight? Saying that I am blind and fool. [Just saying we are ALL limited]
  • Are you kind of mentalist? [Unfortunately we are not artists; psychic entertainers]

So, we have been studying this topic – How many years? – Five? – Ten? – We may know how the Swiss machine works [notice presumptuousness]. Or at least, say something; dust off our old books and papers, personal reviews and class notes. Put on our black-framed glasses and – say something.

Perception involves going beyond the immediately of our senses. Perception creates music, faces, shapes, illusions, art and the world itself.

Sometimes we cannot perceive what does exist.

Art in general, architecture and of course photography know a bit about optical illusions, they know how to delight the human eye. Optical Illusions involve the perception of visual information not physically present.

  • Have you ever seen The Parthenon? It has an optical refinement built into its structure.

[I know it´s getting boring] One of my favorite examples is the “Penrose Staircase”; we are either ascending or descending but going nowhere. It could be an allegory referred to many struggles in life.

  • How can you reach the top of the staircase? If you know how, I would be so pleased to meet you for a coffee.


Three facts:
Sometimes we do not perceive what is there
Sometimes we perceive what is not there
Sometimes we perceive what cannot be there

We are limited, and the limitation of our mind provides us peace and stability in a very complex world. Intelligent perception implies a mix of sensory perception and other information we hold in our mind, we perform an unconscious inference, making judgments that we are not even aware of making (voilà! here´s a stereotype).
Our previous experiences play an important role; take in account that my previous experience is different than yours. Our realities may be right, but both are absolutely different in our minds. – Are you able to recognize your biases/limits?

I love abstract art, maybe because I feel how art frees our mind from a dominant reality. It lets me create a new insight, new emotional and cognitive associations, to step out of the box. Maybe I am more attracted to what human beings cannot to do rather than what they are able to… fragmentation rather than construction, the exploration of yet undiscovered territories of the viewer´s brain.

Yet, it is surprising how we tend to find stability in an uncertain world through our perception, and meanwhile, we tend to be creative with the aim to run away from the dominance of the ordinary; it seems that, both edges are endless.

Someone asked me – What´s perception? And you know… I had to say something

Thank you for reading, feel FREE to comment, criticize or say something 🙂

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Autor: Lorena Álvarez

Psicóloga, activista, trotamundos y una apasionada por la ciencia y las letras.

4 pensamientos en “Oh dear… It´s all about perception!

  1. Ok, I spent 1 h looking at that pic… wtf!
    so, what do you do?

    • 🙂 Thank you Robert.What do I do? Well, It depends on the day (nothing truly relevant).
      About the staircaise, its because our retinas only perceive in 2-D we do the 3-D representation in our minds. We try to make sense of the figure as a whole. Kind regards!

  2. Cool! i was like you, (years ago)… after a few years I decided to quit my job and be a mom. Now I´m writing about my 40 years experience…

    Thanks for your kind words.


    • Bonjour Emma! Thank you very much for reading and your words
      I also enjoyed your posts!
      I´ve a lot of fun writing, I would wish to have more time to do it – «and do it properly»

      Best whises!

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