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Examine sources of misperception


There is more to “Yanny vs. Laurel” than first meets the ear. Any human’s unique experience with personal perception and emotional resultant can set a belief into concrete — even when evidence proves otherwise. A shadow can be seen as a ghost. A hallucination totally originating in the brain can be experienced as “reality.” A political opinion can become “the only correct answer.” A religious view can become an all-consuming life-decision condemning all others to be wrong, mistaken and delusional.

Humans often have great difficulty admitting errors. Sometimes a person knows he is in error but hesitates to admit it because of perfectionism or manipulation. Other times there is some distortion in the perceptual and neurological linkage which presents the person with a very convincing, “I know what I saw, heard, experienced – and I am correct.” A person might even totally commit to say, “I would swear in a court of law that … (fill in the blank).” Such is “Yanny vs. Laurel”.

The “Yanny/Laurel” controversy has to do with gray areas of differences in electronic equipment and unique hearing abilities. But each listener likely had an immediate solid mental attitude of, “I am right – you are wrong.” There are lessons here for humans - especially when the issues are political, racial, religious, criminal justice, and more.

This reinforces the case for examining one’s own sources of misperception and deception. There are many filters in our perceptual systems which modify the cues to the parts of the brain which create pleasure, fear, anger, etc. These emotional forces then drive an individual toward approaching or retreating from something or someone (whether actual or imagined).

Humans have individual conflicts, family issues, local and national and international problems. Individuals (and groups of people) easily think, “I am right – and you are wrong.” It is imperative that humans study how we make our errors. A good start is to begin with, “How might I be wrong? Where are my misperceptions?” Study how the brain works, find books, use Google and YouTube to ask questions, and include neurological understanding into children’s education.

Gene Johnson


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