How we see the world…

Moments ago I came across this fascinating article about how we perceive color in Science Daily and it couldn’t have come out at a more interesting time (and, of course, that I just happened to be mentally open to seeing it). It starts off like this: Researchers at the University of Rochester have found that the number of color-sensitive cones in the human retina differs dramatically among people—by up to 40 times—yet people appear to perceive colors the same way. The findings, on the cover of this week’s journal Neuroscience, strongly suggest that our perception of color is controlled much more by our brains than by our eyes.

Hmmm…is this further scientific proof that we all see the world similarly through our thoughts though we’re physically wired differently? Most of us have seen all the optical illusions like these ones that fool our brains (which are expecting to see one thing vs. what is actually in front of us) so we know how important expectation and perception is in actually seeing something.

I just happened to be open to seeing this article and thinking about its implications (about how we view the world and behave within it) due to the seminar I’m at this week. The workshop I’ve been attending (Spencer, Shenk, Capers & Associates Process Communication Model) has dealt with how to fully grasp our own varied and complex personality types and of those with whom we interact…and how to optimize our communication as leaders. Really good stuff.

This workshop led off by setting some context for us. How do we perceive our world and the other humans with whom we interact? How do we get our psychological needs met and ensure others do thus ensuring good communication occurs vs. breaking down? Our “contact perceptions” are the way in which we each perceive the world and use our own unique, preferred lens to interpret it. Of course, our personality type (workaholic, persister, reactor, rebel, promoter, dreamer) is the key behavioral “filter” through which we project our contact perception to others, and through which we subconsciously behave within the world.

Obviously it’s not just our personality that dictates how we see the world and deal with it. There are tons of other variables like education, experience, traumas, our work and home situations (that may cause us to get in to distress and thus be impacting our behavior) and much more. Drug use and/or mental illnesses would cause an aberrant perspective — but is not often germane in a business context (the one we all shared at this workshop).

This color perception article fascinated me since I wanted to know “why” our markedly different, hard-wired retina’s still perceive color in much the same way (there is a ton of research on color theory, color’s impact on our emotions, and color healing that make perception of color really important). Could it be as simple as our brains sync our visual cortex to the frequency of color so no matter what…our brains adapt to our physical limitations in order to optimize our perceptions? (Seems like correctly perceiving the world visually — aligned with everyone else — would be a *very* useful survival mechanism over the millenia!).

One last thought: so *if* our brains do adapt to physical limitations in order to sync with our world perception what will help us to survive psychologically as our world changes? In just the last 100+ years, we’ve had the phone, TV, videogames, driving cars vs. horseback, computers, the internet causing an accelerating tsunami of electronic stimuli and thought streaming almost directly in to our brains, and a growing body of knowledge about how to precisely target our behavioral propensities and perceptions. Will our brains begin to re-sync our physicality to this new reality? Will we grow in our perceptions? After this workshop I wonder, will our personalities change and adapt too?

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.