3 for Thursday: 3 Examples of the Power of Misperception


Misperception is a powerful force. It drives our daily lives in ways we are often unaware, and it may take many forms. Biases can get in the way of solid conclusions about the world. This is why it is important for scientific studies to be verifiable and falsifiable, and why peer review is always necessary for furthering our knowledge of the world. It helps to put checks and balances on conclusions that are skewed by our expectations.

This week we look at three videos that demonstrate the gap between perception and reality. These serve as great reminders of the human ability to misunderstand the world around us and the people we interact with regularly.

1) The power of bias in our perception of others (Length 3:55)

A recent report from Anderson Cooper looks at a study of kids and their racial biases, using a technique that helps to avoid priming and gets at the unconscious presuppositions that demonstrate the power of latent racism. The video is short, but fascinating.

2) Getting only what you came for… (Length 1:41)

This video is generally used to demonstrate an illusion, but it also gets at the missing elements that can form in eye-witness testimony. The experiment has been mentioned in several books and TV shows since it was done, but if you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out. I won’t say anything more, just watch.


3) Your eyes are lying to you (Length 16:31)

Not everything you see is as you think it is. Beau Lotto, founder of Lottolab, takes us into the world of optical illusions and shows us what our eyes are missing and that our brains can deceive us.


Know of other great examples of misperception and bias? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus.

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