We See What We Want to See

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We process and interpret the incoming raw data in the light of our past experiences, in terms of our current needs and interests, in terms of our knowledge, expectations, beliefs and motives. Perceptual world the individual’s personal internal image, map or picture of their social, physical and organizational environment. Selective attention the ability, often exercised unconsciously, to choose from the stream of sensory data, to concentrate on particular elements, and to ignore others. The image of the world that we carry around inside our heads can only ever be partial representation of what is “really out there”. This leads to the conclusion that our behavioral choices are determined not by reality, but by what we perceive that reality to be. Our perception is influenced by what are called perceptual filters. The internal factors – our past experience and what we have learned, our personalities, our motivations – contribute to the development of our expectations of the world around us, what we want from it, what will happen in it, and what should happen. We tend to select information that fits our expectations, and pay less attention to information that does not. Our categorization processes, and the search for meaning and pattern, are key characteristics of perception. This perceptual work is captured by the concept of perceptual organization – the process through which incoming stimuli are organized or patterned in systematic and meaningful ways. The starting point for resolving such issues must lie with the recognition that different people hold different, but equally legitimate, views of the same set of circumstances. The positivist perspective sets out to discover an objective world out there, as it really is. The constructivist perspective sets out to discover how our world is socially constructed, and how we experience and interpret that world. We each have a unique version of what is out there and of our own place in it. We each live in...
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