8 Ways Your Perception Of Reality Is Jaded
Photo by Lino Khim Medrina
Seeing is believing. To some extent, that is true: A person's eyes allow him to see what is around him, helping him navigate the world.
What one perceives in any given moment is not only determined by sensory input but by one's physical abilities, energy levels, feelings, social identities, and more. It is not just your eyesight that is influenced by unconscious processes. The challenge is not only the things one perceives, but the judgments and decisions one makes based on what one perceives. Things that seem authentic and universal are often just your unique world experience. This holds for the book entitled Old Men and Infidels by W. Clark Boutwell, implying what can go wrong when the young generation can conquer, and the old endures.
This is useful to know—especially now when a person is fighting a deadly pandemic and mired in political and social turmoil. If you understand what irrelevant factors manipulate what you see and think, you can perhaps find ways to conquer these influences and make better societal decisions.
Accordingly, if an individual will have a better understanding of himself and his fellow human beings, you need to appreciate the startling individuality of everyone's experience. That means having humility. Here are eight (8) of this article's many interesting take-home messages.
8 Ways Your Reality Perception Is Biased
1. Your energy and abilities impact your perspective. Several studies show that your physical body and your ability to move influence how you view your surroundings.
2. Your body awareness affects your decisions. While it is uncertain why that would be, people who are more aware of their heartbeats may be better able to calm themselves under stress and make more astounding decisions. Or it could be that successful people more attuned to their bodies interpret their perceptions more precisely, being aware of how the two (2) interact.
3. Being hungry (or not) changes your choices. A person's body's energy levels also impact decision-making. The way you think is limitlessly tied to how you physically feel. Thus, it is vital to make sure you (or others you rely on) are not too depleted when difficult decisions need to be made.
4. Easy-to-read statements seem more trustworthy. Your beliefs about the world also depend on seemingly irrelevant influences. This tendency can be undone if you point it out to people. Otherwise, these forces operate below conscious realization, and you can be duped by how easy something is to believe or retrieve in your mind. Your penchant for fluency makes you inclined to bullshit (if it feels right, it is correct), and when that vulnerability is scaled up to the level of the media, you get truthiness and fake news.
5. Your feelings affect your political views. It is probably not surprising that your emotions affect your perceptions and thoughts. Feelings like disgust, which come out of the limbic system of your brains, often below conscious awareness, guide your reactions and evaluations, making them less than impartial.
6. Feeling bad makes things seem harder. Anyone who has ever felt sad or depressed knows it is hard to face the world when you are down. But it is interesting to note that these feelings also change your sensory perceptions. That means nurturing positive emotions may help you approach complex tasks more efficiently.
7. Having other people around you makes things seem more effortless. The presence of other people affects your perception of challenging situations, too. Your social connections seem to play a role in reducing stress, which might be why being with others changes your perception of pain or difficulty, making them both easier to bear.
8. Your political beliefs affect your math skills. Another fascinating finding is how your group affiliations, like the political party you belong to, affect your perceptions. This hovers in the face of the idea that people need more information to determine the truth of a particular situation. Thinking—even doing math—is not a process happening in isolation but is instead implanted in your thoughts and group identities.
All in all, reading this article should humble you. Many forces below your conscious awareness affect your perceptions, thoughts, and decisions, and errors abound. Becoming aware of those influences could keep you from making costly misjudgments or creating unnecessary conflicts with others who see things differently. The ultimate benefit of that? Hopefully, having a little humility might help everyone to act with less hubris and be more open to other points of view.