Concepts Leading to Inaccurate Perceptions

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Hundreds of years ago determining the outcome of an event or situation was somewhat easier than it is in our present day society. As our world and time evolved so did the people which inhabit it. Going from Point A to Point B is very rarely a straight line anymore, the path is often filled with twists and turns that could end up leading to a point you never saw coming. In psychology especially lies a wide range of topics and concepts that can lead to inaccurate perceptions, cognitions, and conclusions of certain situations. Ideas such as the afterimage effect, availability heuristic, ethnocentrism, groupthink, the lack of object permanence, non-random assignment of research participants, optimistic explanatory style, and proactive interference are all subjects that tend to skew one’s original perspective or path.

To start things off I will begin by discussing the afterimage effect. This effect is what occurs when your eyes, after leaving the receptor cells, analyze visual information in terms of opponent colors. When I tried the example in the book with the flag and the dot, I couldn’t quite grasp the concept as well as I wanted to. I realized that the afterimage effect was almost like an optical illusion, so I found a really great example where a negative picture of Beyoncé had three colored dots on her nose; one dot was green, one was blue, and one was red. When you took your eyes off of the negative picture and looked at a plain dot right next to it, blinking once I was able to see a full colored picture of Beyoncé. The afterimage effect greatly distorts one’s visual perception of objects when dealing with colors that are received by the eye and those colors that are opposite of them. An effect like this can change the entire way you perceive an inanimate object.

As I began to look into availability heuristic, I soon realized how often people subconsciously partake in it. Before I get head of myself I should first explain what availability heuristic is all about. Have you ever watched the news and heard about an event that you almost simultaneously judged the minute you heard about it? This is kind of what availability heuristic entails; more specifically it is how one bases judgments on how mentally available information is. That is in instances that come readily to mind people have a tendency to presume such events are common than they actually are. I found a slightly humorous example where people think they’re more likely to die in a shark attack rather than dying from being hit by falling plane parts, when in reality it is actually the exact opposite. The only reason people believe this is because on the news and in the media we as a society are more likely to hear about a shark attack (i.e. Shark Week) rather than hearing that someone was fatally hit with a piece of a plane. Availability heuristic can severely alter the way we judge situations in everyday life. Just because we think something is common, like dying from a shark attack, we must learn to take a step and analyze that this is not always true, that maybe people actually die more often from flying plane debris. `The concept of ethnocentrism has become a leading idea in forming inaccurate perceptions, particularly in today’s society. In a nut shell ethnocentrism is when a person judges another culture solely based by the values and standards of their own culture. A prime example of ethnocentrism occurring in our present day society is how Americans judge people in the Middle East and vice versa. People in America think that everyone in the Middle East violent terrorists that only seek to destroy those who do not share their same beliefs; and in some cases this may be true. However placing such a harsh standard is not reasonable, for in the Middle East not everyone is Islamic; Hinduism and Buddhism are two religions that also populate that region. Both these religions also happen to be based on extremely peaceful morals and a...
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