People Perceive the World Differently

All human beings are the same. This presumption is now challenged by new findings. Some people are good at remembering faces and the names that go with them. Others can recognize only a few. Some very few, indeed, perhaps just one or two friends. This means that we all have a unique perception of life. If remembering others is significant what about other differences in our sensory sensitivities?

The Muller-Lyer illusion is illuminating. In this test the length of two lines is the same. One has lines at the two ends pointing inward. The other has lines pointing out. The percentage of people who perceive the second line to be longer differs from society to society. For example, the Kalahari foragers know that the lines are same length - nearly all of the participants tested. On the other hand, most Senegalese believed the second line to be longer.

The Dictator Game also highlights the difference. In this "test" a player is allowed to share a pot of money with another player to apportion rewards fairly. Westerners gave twice as much as people from Bolivia.

Questions arise. If we are not equal, should the law be applied differently to different people? Furthermore, should those born with "better" attributes be selected out at a young age and be "primed" to take leading positions as adults? We are not all like peas in a pod. Should societies be stratified to reflect the variation?

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