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Psy 450 Psychological Disorder




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How does the way in which you perceive the world influence your thought
process? Provide a specific example in your response. What other factors
do you think affect your thought process?
Perceiving things means cognitively processing the incoming information.
Clearly, this is a universal need because everyone has the need to process information.
The incoming information first goes through one’s sensory organs, is categorized, and
when recognized, it utilizes a very significant cognitive tool, one’s language. Everyone
also has to remember information and the way one remembers, how he or she recalls
information, and how much of it he or she can remember can vary from one culture to
another. Being able to categorize, recall, and solve anything fulfills one’s general needs.
The way they are performed depends on cultural circumstances. I found the discussion
question very interesting, as I always wonder in what way individuals perceive the world.
This automatically leads me back to philosophers such as Plato and his experiment in the
cave. In this experiment, he learned that the individuals imprisoned believed the
projected shadows were real. According to Locke, the way one perceives anything in this
world depends on his or her experiences. While doing more research on this subject, I
discovered that there are two schools of thought (nativism and empiricism) occupied with
this subject. For instance, a nativist thinks that the perceptual phenomena is mostly
influenced by one’s nervous system, whereas the empiricist believes that our perception
is not affected by a stimulus but rather, it is due to one’s experience interplaying with a
stimulus. Therefore, they also think that one can be misled by his or her prior experience.
It is also relevant that perception helps one in countless ways. There are five senses

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(sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste) that transport information to the brain. The kind
of sensation to occur is dependent on which part of the brain is set in motion. The
interesting thing though, is how culture affects what one perceives because it is clear that
individuals perceive things differently. How about learning? If learning can influence
how one perceives things, this would mean that culture could affect one in the way he or
she perceives anything. Because we do grow up in various environments, it is
understandable that one will interpret cues differently (Segal, Dasen, Berry & Poortinga,
The one example I can think of right away, about how differently individuals
perceive things, reminded me of my friend from South Africa. We have been friends now
for many years but I will never forget the first time I visited her house. I was invited to
dinner and was very excited. However, once I got there the very strong smell of food
made my stomach very upset. It was so bad that I had to leave. She was not upset and
we talked about it, and she completely understood. She was laughing at me telling me
she does not even notice the smell of the food. However, for me, who did not grow up in
the same kind of environment, I was just not used to it and perceived the smell very
strongly to the point that it made my stomach sick. Not being exposed to the same
environmental conditions contributed to me feeling them differently. Another example I
think of is nudity. My husband for instance, thinks we as the parents should not walk
around our kids naked. Well, I disagree. Growing up in Denmark, we all go to saunas so
it is ok to be naked; therefore, I do not feel uncomfortable when my kids walk into the
bathroom and see me undressed. However, my husband covers up right away and tells
the children to leave the room. Over the years though, my husband learned to relax more

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(maybe because he spent many hours with my family in the sauna, albeit still covered)
and today he is more accepting of it. Just from my own experience, I can say that
learning plays a major factor in how one perceives anything.
Segal, M., H., Dasen, P., R., Berry, J., W. & Poortinga, Y., H. (1999). Human behavior in
perspective: An introduction to cross-cultural psychology.(2
.ed.). Needham
Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon

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Very useful material for studying!