Selectivity of Perception

Read this article and identify how advertising or marketing utilizes consumer perception to sell its products. Think about how someone might try to persuade a small audience when presenting a group at work. How is that similar to these marketing techniques? Write a short reflection in your journal.

What we notice depends on a number of factors. We tend to notice and group information based on what we are interested in or what is important and push everything else to the background. Our emotions can also "color" what we perceive or direct our attention. Our culture, personal and professional knowledge, and beliefs can also determine what we see and what we don't see. (see Van de Lagemaat p.p. 91-92)



We are all very familiar with a one Lira coin and also with a one Euro coin. Without looking at an example, quickly draw both sides of a one Turkish Lira coin and one side of a Euro coin (the one that is the same everywhere or includes a variant). Click on the chart to check your drawing. Where were you accurate? What did you include? What did you leave out? Why might your memory and perception be selective?

We see these coins in our daily lives but do we really notice all the details or just what is most important? Examples of people misinterpreting, failing to notice, or misremembering what they believe they perceive, abound.


Change Blindness

This is not so surprising when we look at the extent to which people miss the change that occurs. People often do not see it when change happens.

Do you think you do better? Perhaps if you were consciously trying to be attentive you would do better. Consider the implications of people's generally poor ability to accurately recall details, to the high regard courts of law hold eye-witness testimony: Can you spot the murderer?


Influence of emotion?

How do our senses interact with each other and does an emotional state select or influence our understanding of the world or at least a glass of wine?


Appearance or Reality?

Reasons for caution are:

  • misinterpretation
  • failure to notice something
  • misremembering
  • selective Interpretation
  • knowledge our senses have limits


Three Confirmation Tests

  • Confirmation by another sense-touching is believing
  • coherence-something fits in with our overall experience
  • Independent testimony-other witnesses see the same thing

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Last modified: Monday, November 9, 2020, 2:35 PM