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“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

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Presentation on theme: "“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”"— Presentation transcript:

1 “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
Henry David Thoreau Sensory Perception


3 “The Blind Men and the Elephant” by John Godfrey Saxe (Indian Legend, metaphor, genius.) Beau Lotto: Optical Illusions

4 Parameters Define sensory perception:
the awareness of things through our 5 senses. The response of our senses to stimuli Sensation + Interpretation = Perception

5 Connect to language: definition theory
See page 98 of your books: The tree in the forest example… Does “sound” only exist if we are there to hear it? Or does sound exist outside of experience? (see blog!)

6 Empiricism: a school of philosophy in which ALL knowledge is based in sensory perception/experience.
New blog asks you to think of living for one year without each sense; what would you miss most?

7 Can it be? Oddities of sense perception
Daniel Tammet: Born on a Blue Day (Author) Daniel Tammet has a rare form of autism which pairs with synesthesia, meaning, he sees numbers in color and texture, thereby allowing him to remember and relate numbers in an extraordinary fashion.

8 2/28 Announcements EE: Topics due Friday. Questions? See Ms. Cordell ASAP! If you missed Monday, you should have already met with Ms. Cordell to get the information! LANGUAGE QUIZ—Make up is 2:00.

9 Esref Armagan Esref was born blind. How then, can he paint with such stunning accuracy…without help?

10 Beethoven: Deaf Composer
Imagine creating this piece of music…if you were deaf!

11 Some questions What do you think of the statement, “Your perception is your reality”? Can you think of examples where this is true and not true? Are there any areas of knowledge that do not rely in some way on sensory perception? In what ways is perception ambiguous?

12 COMMON SENSE REALISM: perception is straight-forward and an accurate reflection of reality.
“Our conscious world is a grand illusion!” (this statement based in the fact that our interpretation of sensations is dependent on our brains) see pg. 23 of packet. “The tickle is not in the feather” says Galileo.

13 Illusions Context, figure and ground, visual grouping…
Gestalt theory: we tend to perceive things in meaningful patterns or groups rather than separate parts.

14 And expectation…in real life!


16 What sounds tell us… (Freeze this screen!)
Example 1: Example 2: Example 3: Example 4: Example 5: Example 6:

17 Some more questions What role does instinct play in what we perceive? To what extent does culture affect the ways in which we see the world? How does your emotional state affect your perception?

18 Where does “confirmation bias” become a problem of knowledge in sensory perception?

19 3/4/13 13 out of 23 people turned in their Extended Essay paper to Ms. Cordell or myself. Tsk tsk.


21 Eye-witness testimony
Law-school example Scott Fraser: Why Eyewitnesses get it Wrong Getting it Right: Eyewitness Testimony (The innocence project)


23 Problems with sensory perception
Misinterpretations/Misremember Emotional/memory connection distortion Failure to notice something. Some things lie beyond our sensory perception abilities. Paris in the the spring

24 Testing for reality Confirmation by another sense
Coherence (does it fit in with our overall experience of the world?) Be careful not to be TOO skeptical! Sensory perception does have its weaknesses, but in most cases it is considered reliable enough to base knowledge claims on.

25 Theories of reality Common sense realism: the way we see it is the way it is. Scientific realism: the world exists in an independent reality; our brains make sense of chaos. (Atoms whizzing around….we make them into a sofa with our minds). Phenomenalism: matter is the permanent possibility of sensation; the world does not exist beyond our experience of it. Reality is not for us to determine because we are too limited by our individual experiences. “To be is to be perceived”—George Berkeley

26 Connect How do you see sensory confirmation or distortion as playing a part in the topics you presented for Language? How about the 2 minute presentations you did a few weeks ago? Ethics: do good people see the world differently than bad people? How does connotation in language relate to sensory perception?

27 Sensory in the media

28 Self-perception Rose Colored Glasses Your own ranking
Can you apply these tests Confirmation by another sense Coherence (does it fit in with our overall experience of the world?) What contributes to self-perception? Is it more faulty that the “five senses” ways of perceiving? Is self perception perhaps the grandest illusion of them all?

29 Is this true? The statements involving others are scored lower or more harshly. The statements involving something negative are more conservative. The statements involving traits our society values we tend to rank highly. The ones where we are asked about the perception others have of us are higher. Humility is valued in our culture, which can tend to reign you in. Depending on the wording, we change our perception. (I am often misunderstood vs. I am a good communicator)

30 Sensory enhancement List all of the things that have been invented to enhance our sensory perception. List the corresponding sense this invention enhances. Do these enhancements help us or handicap us?

31 Conclusions Perception is an important part of how we know what we know. Perception is fallible and sometimes subjective and selective. Errors in perception can have real-life consequences. The structure of our sense organs affects how we perceive the world. Pain, taste, color, sound are subjective (relativism). We can hypothesize that the world exists external of our experiences, based on regularity of experience, evidence, and coherence. Human beings invent things to enhance our sense perception.

32 Do you consider the following sense perceptions?
Intuition Instinct Memory Compassion/Empathy

33 Sensory perception in metaphor
Allegory of the Cave--

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