Sense Perception

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11th March 2012

To what extent can we trust our senses to tell us the truth?

We perceive the world through our five senses: Sense perception is the active, selective and interpretative process of recording or becoming conscious of the external world. So can we really rely on our senses to tell us the truth?

There are so many times when our senses can be influenced by instinct, emotion, and beliefs. For example, if we are in the middle of a forest and scared, we probably start to see and hear things that aren’t there. This shows that our senses are not dependable enough to give us a true representation of our surroundings. Different people perceive things differently, so how can we rely on incompatible abilities to give us a clear and consistent perception? Different species view the world differently. Birds can see ultraviolet light, some fish like whales use SONAR for location, and some beetles make use of the earth’s magnetic field to locate their nests. There are so many senses that are still unknown and none of us have experienced, so how can we decide which one gives the best representation of reality? The human senses are limited. We can hear only up to a frequency of 20 to 20,000 Hertz. We can see only up to a wavelength of 390 to 550 nanometers. We can feel and bare only certain temperatures. We can’t smell as well and as far as dogs can. We only feel the touch of certain textures, and we can only taste foods that are taste buds are designed for. In spite of being aware of these limitations, how can we rely on our five senses to give us accuracy and truth in the world around us? Our sensory organs don’t think. They simply just send information to the brain and its left to our interpretation. For example, every morning we see the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. The sun isn’t really moving in the sky, but the earth Is spinning. When we see this our eyes aren’t lying, it’s just the way we interpret it. Another example is when...
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