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University of Toronto St. George
Dan Dolderman

Why Study Psychology? -can allow us to understand ourselves better -can allow us to understand others better -has useful applications for helping people,social work -helps deal with stress Fundamental insights of psychology: Insight 1:Reality=story created by our brains,fictitious-> we are authors of our own stories -we are not really interacting and perceiving the real world, we only interact with our own interpretations of reality -our experiences=interpretations of what happens to us (self created bubble),b\c we are missing a lot of info from certain situations,we complete our story-like realities by filling in the gaps with our brains unknowingly;the truth we think is real is our guesswork -brain =\= mirror,(doesn't reflect things accurately) functions more like painter of reality -we cause ourselves misery by taking things to be real that aren't -we only have access to a limited subset of information ->sensory perception is limited (limited receptivity;some things are beyond human capabilities i.e.sounds at higher frequencies),we also have limited attention spans therefore some pieces of info are not registered by our brains -we function and navigate reality based on the limited amount of info we do perceive Perception 1. perception:turning bits of information (sensations we received) and translating it into something we understand.we act on these perceptions and treat these perceptions as reality. -these perceptions may or may not accurately reflect reality-> people may make systematic errors in their perceptions and thus have skewed versions of reality -> thus we interact with a FICTION of reality and not directly interacting with reality itself 2. perception="creative storytelling",but is faulty;there is a trade off between accuracy and functionality:our brains work fast and perceive things quickly (functional,useful for making decisions in life) but results in a loss of accuracy 3. perception is also a process of pattern-matching,in which the brain looks for pre-existing patterns of previous experiences we have had before,and uses these to decode incoming sensations -therefore,what the brain sees in the present is largely what is has learned to see in the past ->if the brain cannot decode a sensation,then it guesses,ignores it,or sees what it wants to see ex.the bottom image is a new pattern,the person isn't able to decode it based on its previous patterns shown above (the four boxed patterns of dots) Insight 2: we have a limited information processing capacity,therefore we take shortcuts to try to efficiently process as much info as possible when reasoning or making decisions -> specifically,these shortcuts are heuristics,or rules of thu
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