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TOK Presentation (Emotion and Perception)

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Eiko Iwashita

on 21 May 2013

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Transcript of TOK Presentation (Emotion and Perception)

By Eiko Iwashita The Effects of Emotion and Perception on Reason-based Judgements What if you are arrested for something you did for a school project? On the 22nd April 2013, Kiera Wilmot, a 16 year old girl from Florida conducted an experiment in school for a science fair. To what extent will emotion and perception inevitably distort reason based judgments? Emotion and perception leads to knowledge being biased. Overreaction An excessive reaction; a reaction with inappropriate emotional behaviour. What is the effect of media bias on emotion and perception? Media bias is defined as the bias of journalists, news producers within the mass media. Can media play a role in limiting emotional and perceptual bias? If media makes us feel and perceive in certain ways, how can we minimise the effects? The experiment involved a plastic bottle, toilet bowl cleaner (containing hydrochloric acid) and aluminium foil. The hydrogen gas produced by the reaction caused the pressure inside the plastic bottle to increase, resulting in an explosion. However Kiera Wilmot was expelled from school, arrested and charged with "possession/ discharge of a weapon on school property and discharging a destructive device." Intense emotions such as anger and sadness can lead to biased knowledge due to the fact that they create memories of these feelings. These emotions are usually left in our minds therefore may be the first thing that reminds you of a certain event leading to a biased way of looking at things. We tend to link our opinion to emotions felt by events that are related. Perception leads to biased knowledge because our vision is limited. We can't be sure from secondary knowledge that an event occurred the way it did. If we can't perceive everything and can't be sure what others are saying is true, how can we come up with a decent reasoning? When emotion and perception cause bias towards knowledge, it can cause extreme distortion of reason based judgements... Overreactions can be caused when emotional and perceptual bias overwhelms judgements. So something that seems small scale may be met with more attention then it's supposed to be... In Kiera Wilmot's case, the school overreacted due to the fact that the Boston Marathon Bombing happened a week prior to the event. The Boston Marathon Bombing may have scared the school authorities, which made Kiera Wilmot's experiment seem as if it is a threat to their school... Therefore it affected the decisions made by the school to expel as well as arrest Kiera Wilmot. This shows how emotion can lead to overreaction as the fear from the Boston Marathon Bombing led to this extreme decision made.
As well as that perception affected the decision because they saw the explosion as a threat. What if this incident didn't happen so closely to the Boston Marathon Bombing? Will she be met with the same fate or will the outcome be different? No one was injured and nothing was damaged from the explosion... On average we are exposed to 10 hours and 45 minutes of media (such as television, newspaper and the internet) everyday. This means that a lot of our ideas and opinions are affected by media. Many media are biased due to the fact that the creators' emotions and perceptions are usually involved. Since most media is secondary knowledge, we do not know what the truth behind the story is... "small explosion" vs. "produce a bit of smoke" "No deaths and no injuries... only property damaged by the explosion was an eight ounce plastic bottle." vs.
"no property was damaged and no one was injured." Depending on how the language is displayed on media, the same event can be understood and interpreted in different ways. Just like literature, media can form certain emotions in a person. These emotions can eventually lead to perceiving things in a certain ways.
Negative emotions may make the person perceive certain things as a bad thing.
Positive emotions may make the person perceive certain things as a good thing. Certain media provide more objective and rounded information. However how can we be sure that these sources are the truth and not something that the creator perceived? Although certain creators of media uses neutral language, which can reduce emotional bias of the creators to a great extent, is perceptual bias minimised? Journalists usually gain information from people directly involved in the event.
This means that the emotion of the people that journalists gather information from may affect the articles they write since the emotional bias of the person will affect the information gathered. Therefore we cannot completely say that an article is unbiased since the emotional bias of the person that helped the creators of media can form perceptual bias towards the creators. There is no such thing as "unbiased" information. All knowledge from media are to some extent biased.
However there are certain ways to limit these emotional and perceptual biases. A way to reduce emotional and perceptual bias is to look at different sources of the same event. Since there are many types of media as well as sources of media, we can try to gather information from all these sources. There is a possibility that an article from a magazine and a newspaper about the same event may have two different ideas or ways of presenting the event. Then we can come up with our own ideas or decisions.
However we ourselves would probably be a little biased towards one side or the other since making decisions without any emotions and perceptions are almost impossible. Conclusion Judgments cannot be made without the presence of emotion and perception. Although we try to reduce emotional and perceptual bias, we cannot avoid some of these biases as we are already exposed to so many different biased information. However we may be able to minimise bias by having more information about the situation and by looking at different perspectives of the situation.
As well as that by having more information, we are able to see the "big picture" therefore may be able to avoid overreaction. In school, we are asked to search from various sources so that we are able to make an argument from various perspectives and make a decisions based on the information found. However all decisions made will probably have a little bit of bias... We are also told by others to think before we act. I feel that the process of thinking will usually lead us to think further about the consequences of the action and by having more information about the situation we are able to avoid overreaction.
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