Idiosyncratic Perceptions

Perceptions vary from person to person to person, so, I will be delving into the various aspects of sensory and psychological perception. My introduction begins with the sensory system and input through the five senses. The stimulus/input is always the same but perceptions are what give things new meaning to us. Our brain utilizes many techniques for categorizing and classifying incoming information based on previous experiences. Our brain is also able to sort out important information from all of the hodgepodge we are bombarded with on a daily basis. We can become deadened to persistent and equally unimportant stimuli, or more alert and aroused by unusual or recognizable stimuli. 

Experiences are a huge part of our unique perception, and these long-term memories of events and emotional states are formed and stored in the hippocampus and amygdala respectively. These structures help us recall events that pertain to current interactions and perceive stimuli accordingly. This creates a wide assortment of possible memory combinations that can lead different people to experience things very differently. 

Art, literature, sayings, ideas, and a bunch of other things can be left vague on purpose to allow people from different backgrounds and different experiences to experience whatever is most impactful to themselves. This type of ambiguous interpretation was first studied by Hermann Rorschach who is most famous for his ink blots. Patients responding to inkblot paintings can reveal things about their character and personality through a type of psychoanalysis. Paintings have their own form of ambiguity and our different experiences and perceptions can lead us to have different takes on an exact same stimulus.

Using our senses together can create a more profound experience, while being limited to one sense withholds our ability to perceive the experience in its entirety. The disabled are at a disadvantage with this, and so there have been art exhibits that create 3D textured paintings so they can experience the paintings in their own way, as well as glasses that can allow people to see through electrical impulses in the tongue. Our senses begin interconnected but diverge as we age, and people who maintain this network of senses are considered to have synesthesia. 

Going away from ambiguous experiences, neuroaesthetics is the science looking into what makes certain things attractive. There is evolutionary evidence to support each neuroaesthetic claim, but there is always a minority opinion even when things are considered fundamentally attractive. This is because underlying perceptions and sensations are what can be generalized, but the more specific we get, the less people can agree. Neuroaesthetics is used in food and sexual advertisement, and creates stigmas around perfection.

These stigmas of perfection are bolstered by our very own society. The unattainable beauty that companies advertise squashes a young mind's growing self confidence, and only leads to mental diseases and a poor self image. The desire for perfection can lead some to lean on desperate measures in order to achieve their end goal, but this only perpetuates our erroneous societal norm.