What is Your Perception ?

perceptionExperiences we create and make in the course of our life influence the ways we perceive our surroundings, situations and the world in general.  Encounters we’ve had in the past such as arguments, loving exchanges, losses, or even books we’ve read – most of what we perceived from the outside- is influencing our current thoughts and actions.

Let’s take a “look” at some amusing examples of visual perceptions and how they can differ from person to person:

This is a famous picture. What does it look like to you?

Some people see a young lady looking away. Others see an old lady looking down. The picture hasn’t changed. You just emphasize different parts of it and assign them different meaning.

We fill in a lot of blanks with our minds. If we have incomplete perceptions, which we practically always do to a certain extent, our minds fill in the rest.




Are those letters? Or are they just lines and blotches on the paper? How do you know?


The meaning of something will change when you look at it differently. You can look at anything differently and find new meaning.

Another example, especially for Television viewers, is that the eye only sees a small portion of the frequency spectrum of light. Human eyes can see nuances of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, and white but don’t see ultraviolet or infrared. They’re just beyond the visual range. And vast ranges of radio waves, x-rays, micro waves, etc., are completely out of range.


This same characteristic can be said of all the other human senses. Only part of a much larger spectrum of frequencies is allowed in. The human sound range is between 20 and 20,000 hertz for a young person and much less for an old person. All sounds outside that range aren’t audible. Many animals use higher or lower ranges of sound. For example, bats use high frequencies of sound as a radar system. Overall, each of the human perception senses only covers a small part of a much larger scale.

The other individually selective perception is mentality.  Evolution has equipped us with memory and preconditioning – otherwise our day to day life would be too much to handle.  The phone is ringing – where does the sound come from? What do I have to do with the thing? Only experience tells me – yes, I have to pick up the receiver and will then hear a voice.

Our preset mental mind works the same way. Stereotyping is a good example.  Mothers are loving and caring …. depending on your experience.  Scientific programming isn’t entertaining ….. depending on what you have experienced or heard or read about it. This producer is known for producing Reality – why is he doing a historic documentary? And so on.

Here is a list of human behaviorism, categorizing perceptual Filters we humans usually have.  There is no escape from having them and it’s not a problem at all – more a blessing.  What is important is being aware of it and ones own filters are operating.  Mental filters impact how we judge others/ judge situations; they impact how we conduct our entire lives**

Our brain is a self-referential system, as described by Maturana and Varela, which essentially serves itself and its development. The new neurobiological view that has prevailed in the last 10-15 years, states that we construct our own reality. Through the selective use of our senses and the processing of what is perceived in the form of inner dialogue, images, thoughts and feelings, we create our own individual reality that is shaped by our perceptual filters. Neuro-Linguistic Programming, NLP, is a distinction between neurological, in this sense, social and individual filters of perception. In all three filter systems there are the processes of redemption, distortion and generalization. Because of this, our nervous system has a tremendous amount of sense impressions to organize and categorize.

Neurological Filters: Due to the limitations of our nervous system, we are not capable of perceiving whole classes of signals. (eg: ultrasonic waves) Other signals are misinterpreted. These are the filters shared by most people.

Social Filters are influenced by language, society, social structure, culture, rituals and customs. These filters we share with the members of a social group, our nation and the like.

Below are our individual filters (meta-programs, values, criteria, belief systems, beliefs, memories, expectations), which arise from our personal experiences and learning processes. These filters apply only to individuals and are thus dependent on the respective inner values, beliefs and moods. Thus determines the individual filters, which items are psychologically to fit inside the prevailing structure of reality. The social and individual filters are activated by the methods of NLP and can be changed as needed or transcended.

1. Destroyed (displacement)

2. Distorted (projection) or

3. Generalized (belief system)

More thoughts

Richard Bandler has said this:
“It is as if we live in a prolonged trance and run because these processes are mostly self in hypnosis, we have our consciousness” hypnotize developed “to thus gain better access to new choices and learn more personal freedom can be. “

This model of a trance really has great similarity with the Hindu concept of “Maya” or the Buddhist concept of “Samsara”. Don Juan Matus, protagonist and shaman Carlos Castaneda’s books speak of the bubble of perception. An old Zen proverb illustrates this idea with the following sentence: “When a pickpocket meets the Buddha on the road, he sees only his pockets.”

It’s important that we respect and don’t overlook individual perception; both as  developers and as viewers.