Hello again!
Friends, consultees, patients and clients are giving me feedback on practical videos that are coming up lately, and my team is saying we need to bring back the old videos, because the messages are so relevant. One video that I found from the story of psychologists doing experimentation on selective perception and being able to see like a detective – all details.
That interests me in that lately more and more in fact we are seeing people are incapable of focusing. They are all over the place and they are not imbibing getting in all the information and keeping it. So let’s do an exercise together shall we?

“This is a test of selective attention.
Count how many times the player is wearing white past the basketball.
How many passes did you count?
The correct answer is 15 passes, but did you see the gorilla?”.

Ask yourself this question: How observant am I really?

You know people are preoccupied with themselves when in public. They are busy with the stain on their shirt or how their voice sounds, if they look fat, thin or awkward. Continuously worried with what others think of them. If they will make mistakes in conversations let alone public speaking, oh that’s sheer panic. They get panicky, anxious, afraid of messing up and then they forget what they are supposed to be saying, because they are anxious. A vicious cycle is created, so, so it goes.
Now is a change exercise. At least for a while, I invite you to focus on the world around you and not on yourself. In any case you cannot focus hundred percent on two subjects at the same time. The brain’s natural state is to drift, to drift away. So for the next while become a better, well in order to become better, actually your task is to be the observer of the other people and things around you. So we are reversing the order of things for a while. You are the recording camera. Then you are not the center of the universe. By shifting the attention away from yourself to others around, you become a better observer of the world, just like Sherlock Holmes.

In cognitive behavior therapy trainings as interns we would videotape group conversations, communications, such as couples, husbands and wives, then our task would be to watch the taped material turning the sound off, turning the sound off would force us, the psychology interns, and later on of course my interns in turn to watch the details of the body language of participants. Paying attention to details becomes automatic through practice. Attention to detail can be trained. Later on this method of focusing on different parts of communications become very useful to me, well, actually it became useful to me in learning various languages including sign language for the deaf in Washington at Gallaudet college for the deaf. A fascinating experience, where all the students and all the staff alike were either hard of hearing or completely deaf. So, much miming is involved in sign language for the deaf. You learn to look for changes in body language. It’s a very rich world, actually the deaf world. Nuances of facial expressions become important. You start looking for things that are out of the ordinary.

So in summary for perception building exercises for a while you will need to pay more attention to those around, instead of yourself. You are the video camera, you are behind the camera. You will start noticing minute changes meanwhile of course put away and minimize distractions. Don’t do two, three, four, five things at the same time thinking that you are multitasking. You are not multitasking, you are just missing information that may be so important for you. Okay, I also suggest you watch foreign films. Turn off the subtitles, watch the body languages of the characters, and predict what’s going on. Their emotions, their moves. Okay I assure you, your observational skills will improve for sure. Over time when sophisticated with your Sherlock Holmes observational skills. Then the next step will be to train yourself to observe objectively. Like as if truly, as if videotaping a scene, an event, an excellent camera, which is taking pictures.

Learning not to base your observations on your emotions or prejudices or biases. You are in these exercises an observer and not the actor at that moment. You know, since we see things from our angle usually and not necessarily accurately as they are first, it is to our benefit to have 2020 vision, perception. So selective perception, immediate selective perception is not always to your benefit. First observe as accurately as you can. And then select.

Perception and recall abilities can be trained almost like detective work and you know, besides psychologists, leaders in companies, policemen, reporters, actually each of us, each of us in everyday life benefit by developing perception abilities. So now I ask you to do your Google search and search the following keywords, such as – selective perception, confirmation bias, perception exercises, listening skills developing exercises, accurate perception. Okay do this, do your search. You know becoming truly observant is a fascinating subject, enjoy your exploration!

In the spirit of Kaizen improving from improvements continuously staying as a student of life we learn things and while learning sign language at Gallaudet college in Washington our teacher gave us exercises. You know you learn to become a detective like an observer. One of the exercises would be to go into a room, look around whatever there is, memorize, but look around for about 10-15 seconds and then elsewhere write down exactly what you saw in the order that you saw them with all the details you can come up with. And that will be training your brain into being able to focus on what you want to see peripherally. There is something called peripheral vision, indirect being able to absorb, get in information. Those are good trainings, do them. Okay, bye bye, take good care!

Dr. Louise Aznavour
Psychologist = Solution Oriented Coaching =
+1 (514) 983-8309
Montreal, Canada

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