Perception Is Not Data

Written by Rob Taylor & Reviewed by Dr. Charlie Todaro

If science tells us our brains are making up a “story” about reality, shouldn’t we be curious about, and even seek out the answers to, how reality might be different than how we see it?

It’s not about doubting everything that comes through our senses. It’s about looking for our blind spots with the goal of becoming more well-rounded thinkers. We may not agree with others’ interpretation of reality, but we can work to learn and understand it (Resnick, 2020). This alludes to the concept of implicit bias (Banaji and Greenwald, 1995). We can take off our own sunglasses – the lenses made up of what we choose to see based upon beliefs, values, and individual experiences – and gain a deeper awareness and appreciation for how others see the world. This insight allows us to nurture stronger bonds, strengthen our social awareness, and build empathy towards others. 

Why are we seeing a story about the world — a story — and not the real deal? It’s not because evolution made our minds flawed. It’s not even always our choice. It’s actually an adaptation. We don’t have the necessary machinery to process all of the information that we’re constantly bombarded with. Maybe we wouldn’t even want to because that would mean we’re devoid of emotions, which impact our perception. The secret about sensory systems is that they’re slow and lagged. They’re not about what’s happening right now but what’s happening 50 milliseconds ago, or, in the case for vision, hundreds of milliseconds ago (Samuel, 2020). If we relied solely on this outdated information, though, we wouldn’t be able to hit baseballs with bats or swat annoying flies away from our faces. We’d be less coordinated, and possibly get hurt more often. 

So, our brain predicts the path of motion before it happens. It tells us a story about where the object is heading, and this story becomes our reality (Nijmegen, 2014). Switching contexts, but applying the same idea: Should prior experiences, which act as subjective markers, be the only tool we use when it comes to understanding personality and predicting athletic performance? 

When the information we’re receiving is unclear, or we have tunnel vision, we see what we want to see (Resnick, 2020). In the past, researchers have found that even slight rewards can change the way people perceive objects (Balcetis and Dunning, 2006). Biologically, we are very uncomfortable with uncertainty – it can lead to fear. Our brain bends reality to meet prior experiences and emotions can mitigate our discomfort surrounding uncertainty. The ambiguity is going to be resolved one way or another, and sometimes in a way that does not match an objective reality.  

This is where Blu chip differentiates itself within the market of personality driven data. We take out the ambiguity, generate meaningful data that removes the uncertainty, and paint a clear picture irrespective of – but also complimentary too – what the human eye may perceive. We understand why we see the world through filtered lenses – it helps us be efficient in our daily lives. Distortion of our reality only leads to incomplete data and less informed decisions. Blu Chip is here to help remove the filter on personality data so that you can focus your energy on building the most effective, high performing team. Sunglasses are cool, but we don’t need to wear them all the time.