Perception. Factors such as a persons educational background, culture, societal norms and expectations, media, physical senses and life experiences create, shape and build the perceptions and filters from which people view the world.

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Serene Xefos                                                                                                            1218031

Perception is an empirical enquiry gained through  experience, and because of this, there is no single case where one perceives the world in the same way as another person. When a person experiences any sort of event, filters comes into play, which affect the manner in which the experience and corresponding data are processed by a person. Eventually, a person’s conscience is also activated and that, combined with what is perceived through the various filters allows the person to act in whatever manner he sees fit. There are many filters which can affect a person’s perception and the filters will vary from person to person. There are, however, various filters that are probably common to most of us: a person’s educational background, culture, societal norms and expectations, media, physical senses and life experiences.

Education is an especially powerful filter. Not only do people have differing levels of education, but any good education will expose a person to various schools of thought and ways of looking at the world, some of which have their origins in the ancient world and others that reflect the most modern and up-to-date approach to looking at the world around us. When a child is constantly bombarded with the same very narrow minded ways of thinking and perceiving the world around them, they will grow up to be closed-minded, not being open to new ideas and ways of thinking. Differences in approaches are very dramatically highlighted if one compares the Saudi school system with the International Baccalaureate, for example. The Saudi educational system is based almost entirely upon rote memorization, where the goal is simply to regurgitate what has been memorized, whereas the International Baccalaureate  is designed to encourage students to think openly and freely and to be able to create their own ideas and defend their opinions confidently. There are parts of the Saudi educational system where, for example,  at a young age a very narrow-minded perception of the world around them, closed to outside influences, is fostered in students. This has a negative effect because education is a very defining factor of how a person will most probably perceive the world for the rest of their lives. It is therefore not a coincidence that after the unfortunate events of 9/11, both the Saudi government and many foreign governments have focused so much of their attention on the Saudi educational system. These government officials clearly recognize just how important a filter education is.

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Another major filter is culture. According to Webster’s dictionary, culture is “the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, art, beliefs, institutions and all other products of human work and thought”.  Culture is clearly comprised of numerous elements, such as a person’s religious beliefs, what is morally and ethically sound, as well as what is considered to be accepted and unaccepted and last, but not least, language.

Religion is an especially important filter through which people view the world. If, for example, a fundamentalist believes that all is pre-ordained and that God determines everything that happens in our lives, he ...

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