“We expect small things to be lighter than big things, to get smaller as they move away from us, and to grow larger as they get nearer … Though seeing and hearing and touch seem simple and direct, they are not. They are fallible inferences based on knowledge and assumptions which may or may not be appropriate to the situation. Listen to a tape recording of an audience clapping. In the kitchen, it sounds like bacon frying. In the garden, it sounds like rain.” – Richard Gregory
Marketing and branding are all about creating instant meanings, and there is a lot to be learnt from how placebos work. This is not to argue that marketing is about ‘happy pills’, but rather that expectations matter and marketers need to think carefully about how expectations are created and linked to the things that people value.
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To perceive is to act
Perception is all about action. What we perceive is not just based on input from our senses, but also based on our expectations in a specific context or situation. Our senses work very well, but our brain integrates, interpolates and interferes with the information coming from the senses to fit the data to pre-existing models of what it thinks should happen (based on a vast databank of previous experiences). For example, our brain expects that two towers going up into the sky away from us should converge following the laws of perspective, and when they don’t (as above) this can cause unintended effects in how we perceive the world. Read more »
Making sense of the world
It’s time to get ‘tasty’ and come over all ‘touchy feely’! The senses are our connection to the outside world, through which we build a store of memories to help us predict and control our futures. The unique value of the human mind is that it makes our behaviour context sensitive, and the context is determined by what we sense around us. Read more »