Saturday, November 27, 2010

Perceptual Vigilance

When I was pregnant and Joel and I were shopping for strollers, all of a sudden, there seemed to be way more women pushing strollers on the streets of St. Catharines than ever before.

A lot of people like to create a sentence to help them remember the four letters in their license plate. For example, say your license plate started with ABCD, it could stand for "All Babies Cry Definitively" or something. As soon as Joel came up with a sentence for his license plate, I was seeing it EVERYWHERE. Every time I drove anywhere, I saw at least one vehicle with the same letters on its license plate as Joel's.

This is perceptual vigilance: notice something somewhere only to subsequently notice it everywhere. I have wondered about perceptual vigilance for years, and only today did I discover the term for this phenomenon.

This is so interesting. The topic of perceptual vigilance makes me wonder if I should manipulate it by going around trying to find nice, beautiful things or words or whatever, and notice them; make a really clear mental picture of them - talk about them - in the hopes of seeing more of these beautiful things or making more of these beautiful things happen. Perhaps that would make life a little sweeter?

When I was looking into this topic (I haven't done very much research yet; just enough to figure out the term and get a little background), I first stumbled upon a lot of web sites about these two, let's say, interesting ideas:

1) sites about happening upon sequences of numbers everywhere, and what it means (think of The Number 23 with Jim Carrey).
2) sites offering motivational self-help regarding the Law of Attraction (like The Secret by Rhonda Byrne). (Basically, the Law of Attraction states that you attract what you think about, so you should deliberately think about positive things and push negative thoughts out of your mind.)

So, does this mean that we can either accidentally or deliberately see or think about things and then see or get more of the same?

You might ask, "What about environment?"  I suppose a person's environment plays a huge role in this concept because if you are surrounded by great things, noticing and thinking about great things (and thus being positively influenced by them) should be easier. (This must be why Dale Carnegie encouraged people to surround themselves with successful people.) Similarly, those who live surrounded by poverty must find it harder to notice beautiful things. However, we all know that you can still think positive even when life dumps negativity on you (it's just way more challenging). Maybe that's the point. Perceptual vigilance will just happen, whether you try or not - whether it's intentional or unintentional. Maybe it's that simple? I wonder.

There's a lot more to be discussed about this - such as how God is reflected in this idea...which will have to wait for another blog post. Let me know your ideas and thoughts!

1 comment:

  1. linked this post to my post today.