-This is highly functional most of the time, allowing our brains to function super-
efficiently, with a small cost of accuracy.
-Much more profoundly though, this means that we are not directly interacting
with reality, but rather, we are creating a fiction about reality and interacting with
this fiction. and we hope it’s a pretty close match.
But how does the Mind perceive Reality?
-Perception is a process of PATTERN-MATCHING
-Our brains look for a correspondence between patterns that have been stored in
it though our past experiences, and the patterns of sensory stimuli it is currently
The brain uses it pre-existing patterns (i.e. knowledge) to decode incoming
Thus what the brain has learned to see in the past, is largely what it sees in the
-What it cannot decode, it either guesses about (if it has some reasonable info) or
ignores entirely, or just sees what it wants/likes to see.
Fundamental Insight #1:
Reality is a story, told to us by our brains
We do not live in the real world, but in a constructed representation.
This construction process involves interpreting patterns of sensory information
with pre-existing patterns stored in the brain.
We regularly make errors in this construction process, and there are systematic
ways in which we do so. By understanding this, we can improve!
Fundamental Insight #2:
We have limited capacity to process information.
Therefore, we take shortcuts:
-We rely upon “heuristics” or rules of thumb, when engaging in reasoning and
-Stereotypes: our beliefs about different social groups
e.g. Torontonians are uptight, judgemental, materialists who think they are the
centre of the universe and who care little about the rich diversity of perspectives
across Canada; VS.
Torontonians are a creative, open-minded, remarkably peaceful, and caring
tapestry of people who reflect the rich cultural diversity of the world, and who
provide a shining example of how this globalized world.