- Top-down processing: Our past experiences and our expectations help us get an idea/hypothesis about what we will experience and that affects what we do experience; using what we know to organize sensations into a meaningful perception.
Examples of top-down processing in perception.
- Whether you first see the young woman or the older woman depends on your expectations
- You hear what you expect to hear (1-minute youtube)
- CN YU RD THS? How about this?
- Say the last word in this list: sinful, evil, b_d.
Now say the last word in this list: pillow, sheet, b_d.
- Four different views of the video of a fight. What do you see?
- The FBI believes that this video shows that the shooting of Robert Finicum was justified. Not everyone sees it that way.
- Unfortunately,stereotypes can sometimes bias our perceptions of other people.
- Helson's adaptation level (psychology's theory of relativity). How intense something feels depends on the intensity of your past experiences. That is, how big, small, loud, or soft something feels to you depends on your frame of reference. For example,
- To a person living in a warm island nation, 67 degrees Fahrenheit could feel unbearably cold. Indeed, people in Palau are still talking about the time it got to 67 degrees--and that time was in 1918!
- In North Carolina, if it hits 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it is too cold for elementary school children to have recess outside. In Minnesota, it has to hit -20 Fahrenheit before it is too cold for elementary school children to have recess outside (USA Today, 1-20-2011).
- To a four-year-old, a 17-year-old is "old"; to a 70-year-old, a 17-year-old is "young."
- $100 is more to you than to Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos.
- This video shows the effect on Helson's adaptation level on happiness (you will probably be happier after watching it).
- Louis CK gives some examples of the downside of Helson's adaptation level.
Implications of Perception and Reality Being Two Different Things
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