Change of Perspective

Musings on Writing, Reading, and Life Narratives

Fiction writers and literary critics speak of point of view. Social scientists are more likely to discuss perspective. But both of these terms refer to essentially the same construct: the consciousness behind the perception and narration of experience. Each individual’s point of view is unique, and point of view shapes the stories people tell to themselves and to others about themselves and their relationships with their environment. The same event narrated from two different perspectives will produce two different stories.

A change of perspective can expand our perception and reframe our thinking about our experiences. We can all benefit from an occasional change of perspective.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

We See What We Expect to See (Part 2)

The previous post (see the most recent post before this one or click here) about assimilation and accommodation made me think a bit more about perception.

What do you see when you look at this picture?



If you're like most people, you probably saw a white vase on a black background. Some people instead saw two heads facing each other in profile. (To see the vase, concentrate on the white part of the image and bring it to the front. To see the two faces, concentrate on the black parts of the image and bring them to the front.)

Once you know that both images are there, you will probably be able to switch back and forth between them, seeing first one image, then the other. But you cannot see both images at the same time. Our brain must select which one it will perceive at any given moment.

The concepts of differing perspectives and selectivity of perception are not exactly the same, but they are very similar. Both concepts demonstrate that there is more than one way to look at something and that the way we see something is not the only possible way to see it.

© 2007 by Mary Daniels Brown

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